Book: Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership

Book: Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership. By Sonia Katyal and Eduardo Penalver. Yale University Press, 2010

Author’s Intro by Sonia Katyal:

“In a nutshell, the book argues that a degree of civil disobedience is essential to the health of both tangible property and intellectual property law. It explores in detail a series of examples — everything from the history of squatting in the American West to HIV drug activism in South Africa to mashups and gay marriage — in which such property disobedience played a crucial role in sparking legal reform or led to needed legal clarification, with as pecial emphasis on technology, innovation, and civil rights.

The book, I think, covers a fresh topic from an unusual perspective — both of us are young, minority law professors who have a strong interest in pop culture, technology and civil rights, so we cover everything from civil disobedience surrounding same sex marriage to native american land rights, to urban squatting, innovation and beyond.”

Publisher’s description

“Property Outlaws puts forth the intriguingly counter-intuitive proposition that,in the case of both tangible and intellectual property law, disobedience can often lead to an improvement in legal regulation. The authors argue that in property law there is a tension between the competing demands of stability and dynamism, but its tendency is to become static and fallout of step with the needs of society.

The authors employ wide-ranging examples of the behaviors of ‘property outlaws’ -the trespasser, squatter, pirate, or file-sharer – to show how specific behaviors have induced legal innovation. They also delineate the similarities between the actions of property outlaws in the spheres of tangible and intellectual property. An important conclusion of the book is that a dynamic between the activities of ‘property outlaws’ and legal innovation should be cultivated in order to maintain this avenue of legal reform.”

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