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Lawyers In Space...

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the forty-acres-and-a-mule dept.

Space 553

colonist writes "The Christian Science Monitor presents an interesting overview of space law. Some want space to be shared by all: 'Outer space is a province of all mankind. There is not, and should not be, any privatization of outer space. It is a common thing that should belong to all.' Some people have claimed parts of the moon or Mars. In response, a lawyer has claimed the sun, 'to show how ridiculous a property-rights system in outer space would be if it were based solely on claims unsubstantiated by any actual possession.' The Space Settlement Initiative wants official recognition of land claims made by those who establish human settlements on the moon or Mars."

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Poll: WHICH IS BETTER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888928)

Vote for: [] ceren []
Vote for: [] perdida []
Vote for: [] perdida's sister []
Vote for: [] mercatur []
Vote for: [] taco's wife []
Vote for: [] cowboyneal []
Vote for: [] rustina []

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888931)


I have dibs! (5, Funny)

BaldGhoti (265981) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888934)

Dibs on Uranus!

Re:I have dibs! (2, Funny)

lildogie (54998) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888978)

> Dibs on Uranus!

Obligatory goatse link [censored]

Re:I have dibs! (1)

DrCash (800431) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889114)

I say that we send all the lawyers on the planet back to Uranus where they came from! That'd solve two problems right there! :-)

It had to be said (3, Funny)

caston (711568) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888947)

Who's gonna be the first to own uranus?

Obligitory...... (3, Funny)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888948)

What do you call 100 lawyers on the moon?

A good start.

Re:Obligitory...... (1, Funny)

whiteranger99x (235024) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889109)

What do you call 100 lawyers on Mercury?

A better finish. ;)

Even more obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889190)

What do you call a busload of laywers going over a cliff?

A comedy.

What if there's an empty seat?

A tragedy.

Headline dissappointed me.... (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888951)

Damn, and here I thought I was about to read about a proposal to kick all the lawyers off the planet!

Re:Headline dissappointed me.... (4, Funny)

NETHED (258016) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888991)

Me too. I was imagining briefcases full of worthless paper, gavils, and thier owners floating up in space.

And about the BMWs, leave them here for me.

I'd let them increase my taxes if they got rid of the lawyers. But alas, never going to happen as the tax increasers (politicians) are lawyers.

Moon taken... Sun taken... (1)

QEDog (610238) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888952)

I take Mars! Bwahahaah. Those rovers are now MINE.

Send ALL the lawyers into space (1, Funny)

The UberDork (689979) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888960)

Send ALL the lawyers into space ... spacesuits not required.

Re:Send ALL the lawyers into space (1)

MetalMorph (528717) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889070)

One lawyer already laid claim to the Sun. I say we send 'em all there.

Re:Send ALL the lawyers into space (0)

QEDog (610238) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889099)

Send ALL the lawyers into space ... spacesuits not required.And the telephone sanitizers too!

So can I sue (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888963)

So can I sue this lawyer if I get skin cancer?

Re:So can I sue (4, Funny)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888989)

Sure, and he will claim that you owe him money for using his rays without consent/payment.

Re:So can I sue (2, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889063)

He can't do that, anymore than someone who blasts music from his property over a loudspeaker system can charge passersby for the music they are listening to.

This is as opposed to the damage done by his rays, of course. You're legally obligated to not harm people by emissions from your property (shelling the neighbors is always considered a bad thing)

Re:So can I sue (2, Funny)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889143)

He better pay the licensing fees on my new patent "How to make skin brown by lying in the Sun" first. YOU ALL BETTER PAY DAMMIT!

Not only that... (5, Funny)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889204)

He is currently pushing for the DMRA (Digital Millenium Ray Act) that will dictate how and when you are allowed to use those rays, even though you have paid for them and even though they are broadcast into your own space regardless.

Technology is under development that will strictly govern the ways in which you are able to use his sun's rays, and will monitor your ray use for marketing purposes and of course to ensure that you aren't pirating rays.

Any circumvention of this control on your use of rays or any unauthorized use of rays, even those that filter through your windows uninvited, will be a federal solar system offense, punishable by up to 15 years in a federal solar system prison and a 1,000,000,000 fine.

Such stiff penalties are necessary because of the vast quantities of solar radiation involved, which, if totaled, represents a truly staggering amount of currency. In fact, the sun's owner estimates that he loses over $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ,000,000 per year to unauthorized and unpaid for photon use, not to mention such black-hat practices as the storing of solar radiation using contraband such as solar cells or the growing of plants from pirated photon streams, which can then be consumed later for energy, with the net effect that the individual in question eventually gains solar energy without having licensed or paid for it.

"We're working hard to ensure that everyone is complying with the law and can enjoy the sun's rays safely and legally, while still supporting the sun," says the sun's owner. Privately, though, he hints that the loss of revenue due to unpaid for photon use may eventually destroy the giant, causing it to go red and eventually fade into a much smaller, more dense star.

Re:So can I sue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889000)


Re:So can I sue (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889037)

At the very least, he could probably be charged with maintaining an attractive nuisance. IANAL but I can't help but wonder if you're allowed to stipulate to something claimed by the other party even when they don't have the law on their side - is that a ruling that needs a contest, in other words? Probably so, and he could always retract in any case, but it'd be interesting whatever happened. Who wants a headline?

Re:So can I sue (1)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889084)

Here's your headline, "SCO sues Autozone."

Re:So can I sue (1)

dangerousbeans (735507) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889043)

(From the article) "...Mr. Pop declared himself not liable for any damage caused by "his" property in the form of skin cancer, sunstroke, solar flares, etc." Being a lawyer, he has covered his back like an afraid mule.

Re:So can I sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889179)

so, can i buy/make a leaking nuclear reactor and declare myself not liable for damages caused by it?

if so, know where i can get some parts, and some cheap land in redmond?

Re:So can I sue (1)

5m477m4n (787430) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889159)

How about sue him for getting burnt? Why not, McD's had to pay up for hot coffee.

I going to sue him. (2, Insightful)

Rev. DeFiLEZ (203323) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888970)

when i get skin cancer i am suing him for toxics from his property "leaking" onto mine.

Re:I going to sue him. (0)

Rev. DeFiLEZ (203323) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889001)

dammit! coward beat me!

The person who has dibs on it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888974)

The individual who has dibs on it all is the physicist who develops a practical FTL ability.

You can keep the resources of our solar system, when some big entrepreneuring physicist has the ability to leave the solar system in a small period of time and go elsewhere.

The richest person in history will be the one that effectively owns the universe through FTL transportation.

Something powerful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889071)

...such as a national government will simply shove him out. Who can stop a national government? That physicist is SOL as far as owning the universe.

We should use the American example of rule of law (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888975)

As in he who has the biggest space army gets to rule the law.

Possession != Right (3, Interesting)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888976)

'to show how ridiculous a property-rights system in outer space would be if it were based solely on claims unsubstantiated by any actual possession.'

Even actual possession does not give you a right to anything. Someone else may come along and kick your sorry ass off the land (or your space rock), as history has shown time and time again. These planets and stars have been around for billions of years, how can any Johnny-come-lately dare think any of it should belong to him?

Re:Possession != Right (4, Insightful)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889011)

The piece of rock we are standing on has been around for a while too, and we seem to be doing a great job of claiming it. Personally, if someone wants to pay to "own" some nebula - let them. They will also have to deal with things like - eminent domain, and abandanment laws, as well as the property taxes (come on we need to fund the NASA school somehow).

Re:Possession != Right (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889203)

eminent domaineminent domain
We saw how this turns out when the Vogons come through your little neck of the woods to build a space bypass.

Re:Possession != Right (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889105)

These planets and stars have been around for billions of years, how can any Johnny-come-lately dare think any of it should belong to him?
That's supposedly how the Indians felt when the white man first offered to buy their land. They accepted the deal thinking they were getting money for nothing - how could you really own anything you didn't create and couldn't carry with you? Now it's hard for us to see things that way.

10 years ago there was a real question over ownership of "cyberspace." Some of us thought it should be an apolitical place where real-world laws need not apply. Want to register the domain name for yourself? Why not? Who ever said copyrights applied to the Internet? Now it's hard to remember how that made sense.

I predict that in 500 years, today's questioning whether property rights should hold in space will seem just as quaint and hard to understand. People never fail to fence things off and keep them for themselves if they can.

Re:Possession != Right (3, Funny)

scotch (102596) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889193)

I predict that in 500 years, you'll be dead. The Indians will get the last (spiritual) laugh - ownership is an illusion.

Star Registry (2, Interesting)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888980)

Come on, I am slowly but surely taking over all of space by registering stars at the US Patent office. Do not worry - I have about 100 constellations now - talk about prime time real-estate.
For those who want to claim the SUN and charge the rest of us an energy bill - well as long as you can build an office on the sun, you can have it :)

Re:Star Registry (4, Informative)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889048)

I was just thinking about that [] , but soon ran across this [] , The International Astronomical Union, which "dissociates itself entirely from the commercial practice of "selling" fictitious star names or "real estate" on other planets or moons in the Solar System. Accordingly, the IAU maintains no list of the (several competing) enterprises in this business in individual countries of the world. "

Re:Star Registry (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889110)

The star registry is a cheesy feel good that you give to your 5 year old. While *ideally* I would like to think that an intelligent adult does not believe the star registry actually holds any water - I am not holding my breath. And even if it did hold any water, by the time we can reach the nearest star - well lets just say I am not expecting anything within the next 200 years - unless a eureka occurs, the people will be dead and the patents will expire.

Re:Star Registry (1, Funny)

Surak_Prime (160061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889180)

Silly - he doesn't need to build an OFFICE on the sun for that. All the billing has been farmed out to India!

See that constellation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888983)

That bright star there, close to Venus. No, to the left. OK, there's another one above it, and then go to the right and you see those three sort of in an arc? And then those two below that, and there's that other bright one off to the left? Doesn't that look kind of like two buttcheeks?

Anyway, that's mine. Dibs.

Lawyers in space.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888986)

Space is the perfect place for lawyers! No Oxygen!

Once commericial space... (3, Insightful)

Dagny Taggert (785517) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888987)

...exploration really takes off, property rights will become of paramount importance. In fact, I predict that, in the next 100 years, there will be a terrestrial war over something in our Solar System that is rich in minerals. While I have no love for lawyers, the forward-thinking people in our society had better work this stuff out NOW.

There will of course be property "law" in space. (2, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889100)

It will be expressed using weapons, just as any other property "law" throughout history. "Law" is just an articulated metaphor for a self-legitimated monopoly on the use of deadly force.

There will be war(s) in space as soon as enough people get out there to try to claim it. Whoever wins these wars will write the first chapter in the case law and/or war history of space "property rights."

Humans being two-year-olds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888988)

Can be summed up in one word:


No property? (5, Insightful)

bookemdano63 (261600) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888994)

Even hinting that property and commercial enterprise is not going to be possible in space is a sure way to cripple space exploration. All large scale exploration is done for either commericial or military gain, take your pick.
For the near future though, exerting property rights over anything you can not "meaningfully control" goes against all the common law up to this point.

Re:No property? (1)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889182)

I agree totally, except that military gain *is* commercial gain. The only way to own something is to stand on it with some equivalent of a big stick and make sure no-one else claims to own it.

We all know who REALLY owns the moon. Liberals! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9888995)

It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

Re:We all know who REALLY owns the moon. Liberals! (0)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889169)

-1 redunant? How about funny? Or just leave it alone.

So if a lawyer owns the Sun... (1)

WinkyN (263806) | more than 9 years ago | (#9888997)

Can I sue him the next time I get a sunburn?

Can I sue him when a coronal mass ejection causes a massive blackout?

Can I sue him when there's an eclipse that causes the Earth's surface temperature to drop about 10 degrees?

Re:So if a lawyer owns the Sun... (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889047)

No, but hams the world over will have to pay him money for tropospheric and ionospheric skips. Without the sun, there would be none of that...

Re:So if a lawyer owns the Sun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889210)

IANAL, but the dude "owns" the sun, not the moon, you should be looking at who owns the moon to sue over your eclipse problem.

How would aliens feel... (1)

XemonerdX (242776) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889002)

...if they find out some sap on Planet Earth has bought [] the star their planet rotates around?!

Force (4, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889006)

This question will be settled by force, not law. If an offworld entity decides to split from the homeland, it will be a question of enforcement against them as to whether they can be brought to heal or whether they get to float freely. Note that they would need to be truly offworld, as any trace of their entity on Earth (a corporation, a nation state etc.) could be penalised much more easily.

Does this situation sound familiar to any US-based people? As a hint, it sounds fairly familiar to me as a Brit.


Re:Force (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889108)

The Outer Space Treaty (the one prohibiting nations from claiming pieces of offworld real estate might trump that.

Too bad noone is on the moon now to bring a case before the World Court. Might be interesting to see....

Re:Force (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889197)

The Outer Space Treaty..
That's just ink on a page. Force trumps law.

Paradigm shift (3, Insightful)

ZeroGee (796304) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889189)

As a hint, it sounds fairly familiar to me as a Brit.

The problem with what you're describing is you're assuming that all the space settlements will be done by terrestrial governments, causing an independence-day event, 2176.

While we had the Dutch East India Companies providing the transport, the future space model will not be the same. You won't see US Colonies, or Chinese Colonies -- the costs are too prohibitive to be justified to a terrestrial power. The paradigm is shifting to true private enterprise, and the space colonies will be a "FutureCorp" colony and a "Maximum Space Travel" colony.

You want to be a colonist? Sign up at FutureCorp's office. They'll hire a "Governor" who was a former Senator but wants to make more money (and escape sex scandals). You'll have a new allegiance, that to the company.

These ventures will still have terrestrial presences, but will paricipate on a level playing field with other nations, representing the concerns of their space-based constituency.

Easy (1)

BearJ (783382) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889008)

No problem. I'll just write a book and call it "The Universe". Then my publisher will start threatening everyone in the universe to give me everything they own. Soon I will own everything! Muahahaha.

Re:Easy (1)

bircho (559727) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889141)

I'll write a biography about the master of universe, so I'll own you.

How would you go about litigating? (1)

pillageplunder (183475) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889015)

Assuming that some sort of treaty is arranged and signed by folks regarding property rights, how and where would these get litigated? Right now there are 100's of court jurisdictions, and one could pick and choose. Would this carry over? Oh my, what a mess that would make.

Lawyers in DEEP space (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889016)

- Hal..
- HAL?!
- Yes Dave
- Let me in, I have a case to prosecute
- I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that

"Lawyer has claimed the sun..." (2, Interesting)

Vexler (127353) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889019)

I really don't see the need to add hot gas to more hot gas.

With ownership comes responsibility (1)

Allen Varney (449382) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889022)

If he owns the Sun, he's liable when the next solar flare knocks out communications satellites. He could only allow flares of a certain magnitude, to comply with zoning laws.

Re:With ownership comes responsibility (1)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889150)

If he owns the Sun, he's liable when the next solar flare knocks out communications satellites. He could only allow flares of a certain magnitude, to comply with zoning laws.

But on the other hand, could he charge licensing fees for providing sunlight?

Space Law (2, Interesting)

ddelrio (749862) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889024)

So if there is no posession in space, is there to be law? I'm wondering if there will ever be a time when mankind can escape government. Will we ever truly be free? Will there ever be an anarchists' haven?

Christian science monitor...psh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889031)

Remember folks, the Christian Scientists are the same people who came up with this FUD [] . The Christian Science Monitor is trying to infiltrate the objective community of global science by appealing to the masses under the guise of "scientific articles".

kind of ridiculous (1)

kingstalemuffins (786246) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889035)

It is kind of silly when people try to claim something that they will never actually be able to possess.

I say let them 'claim' the moon, mars, whatever they want. Maybe it will motivate someone to actually go there and check out their claims. And, if the don't go, why does it matter if the claimed it?

Common thing? (1)

angrist (787928) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889038)

"... It is a common thing that should belong to all. ..."

Uh huh, just like say.. the land under my house should belong to 'all', right?

Mars and Moon deeds (1)

dazilla (647166) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889039)

What about those Mars and Moon deeds that you can buy at Mastermind or other science stores? Do these automatically become null and void?

Re:Mars and Moon deeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889176)

IANAL, but my understanding is that these are typically "quitclaim" deeds, in which the grantor yields whatever interest he may have in the given property (not saying that he, in fact, has any) to the purchaser. It does not guarantee that no one else has a claim to the property. (In essence the seller "quits claiming" that he has rights to the property.

What if an alien race claims ownership of Earth? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889050)

The people who claim ownership of space should consider what they (and the rest of mankind) would think if an advanced alien race turns up and claims that the Earth is within their 'area' of space and therefore they own us?

Pull the plug (1)

randomErr (172078) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889051)

Space is a good place for these trial laywers. Stick 'em out there and pull the plug on the air hose.

What's the difference? (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889052)

What's really the difference between owning the Sun and owning land on Earth? Well, other than that people live on Earth and do useful things with it. But people squat on Earth property for future development, and it's certainly possible that future commercial or industrial development on the sun could make this guy rich.

I'm not a huge fan of land ownership in the first place... yes, I know it's the basis of society and whatnot, but I think we could be living just as happily without it, just differently.f

Re:What's the difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889146)

Yes, this is why the former Soviet Union was the worker's paradise.

Damn that Gorbachev.

Space ownership is a necessity (3, Insightful)

ZeroGee (796304) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889055)

"Outer space is a province of all mankind," says Sylvia Ospina, a member of the board of directors at the International Institute of Space Law. "There is not, and should not be, any privatization of outer space. It is a common thing that should belong to all."

This is completely untenable if you want development of space. Not to mention that the idea of space being a province of "mankind" is pompous; although we may be the only guys around locally, the entire universe isn't exactly our oyster.

Companies aren't going to spend the hundreds of billions needed for facility developments on the Moon, Mars, Titan, and more without having property rights and mineral rights to those location.

Keep it free, if you want -- but you'll also be keeping it bare.

Sent hurtling into the sun (1, Funny)

alanxyzzy (666696) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889057)

Seeing the phrase "Lawyers in Space" reminds me of the old Star Trek: The Lost Episode [] joke
(Riker) "Good God captain! Those are humans floating straight toward the Borg ship with no life support suits ! How can they survive the tortures of deep space ?!"

(Data) "I don't believe that those are humans sir, if you will look closer I believe you will see that they are carrying something recognized by twenty-first century man as doe skin leather briefcases, and wearing Armani suits"

(Riker and Picard together horrified) "Lawyers !!"

(Geordi) "It can't be. All the Lawyers were rounded up and sent hurtling into the sun in 2017 during the Great Awakening."

Inevitable, likely already redundant, joke. (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889058)

I'm all for it, assuming we don't bother to send life-support systems!

encryption (1, Funny)

vinnythenose (214595) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889064)

So now that he owns the sun, can he claim that our use of the light and UV radiation from the since is illegal decryption of a private algorithm and therefore illegal under the DMCA?

That sunburn is proof enough that you decrypted our signal without licensed tools!

Use the historic model (2, Insightful)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889066)

You can only claim something by being there in possesion. Just like the people who claimed land in North, Central and South America a few hundred years ago. Then you might want to defend it in order to keep it.

Claiming something without the ability to take possesion is a waste of oxygen, something lawyers are good at.

what if we're not alone in space (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889067)

before we make property claims like that, I'd like to know how lawyers would react if we suddenly discovered that we were not the only intelligent creatures in the universe. Worse, a stargate scenario, where aliens have claimed our solar system for a couple of millenia and haven't bothered to set any base or observation post. What would happen also, if someone were to claim a random star system that was later discovered to be inhabited by aliens with a much higher technology than ours? Before making land claims I'd like to know whether or not we're alone in this galaxy. If we are, fine, if not, we'll have to make a galactic summit and decision of how to do it.

If he owns the sun.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889069)

I want to sue him for scorching my lawn and causing my AC bill to increase. Think I would win?


Like the internet (1)

gptelemann (801687) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889072)

Reminds me of the internet. I need to do my reading, but didn't it used to be relatively uncontrolled and free to everyone, and pretty much without ads? Now that space tourism is beginning and space may become practical, interest is growing. Where can I buy some moon billboard space? Calvin and Hobbes, not ad verbatim: *sign on asteroid* "McZargalds, next left. 100,000,000 earthlingburgers served daily."

What might have been... (1)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889088)

... for sure, if I had actually given an ex-girlfriend legal ownership of the 'moon & stars', instead of just saying I would 'if I could' - then maybe she wouldn't be an ex-...

I'd go a step further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889098)

I doubt that any of us revels in the idea of war. Rather, it is a necessary evil. Evil because it kills men. And necessary because there doesn't seem to be any way to avoid fighting wars.

There is always someone wanting more land or more resources and is willing to take that from his neighbors by force if necessary. This is the reason wars are fought. (Not for silly lies like "bin Laden's family runs the gov't")

Consolidate the ownership of property in the hands of the government and make all property freely accessible to all citizens. Naturally we could make individual abodes off-limits to intruders, but the rest of the land would be wide open for any use by any one. Now bring the whole world under the umbrella of this dreamworld and you'll finally have world peace. No one will want for anything because everything is essentially at their fingertips.

Now extend this to space and you can see how such a system of common land ownership would lead to more productive societies. Each denizen of a moon colony would have a job to do and would be allotted some amount of capital in return for their work. A fully capitalist society couldn't work in such cramped quarters because there isn't enough ebb and flow of capital to make such a system possible. However, a command-based society (something like a military command structure) that acted to promote the welfare of those citizens would be most beneficial to all involved.

Add to this that the unity of all mankind in its drive towards the outer reaches of space would be much better than separate attempts of much lower investment. By pooling our efforts and capital we can rise above our differences to new heights, even unto space.

I don't think space can be, and it certainly shouldn't be, allowed to be bought up by the richest among us for their exploitation. Space and even the Earth, is all of ours and we should treat it as a communal resource rather than something that is quickly used up and disposed of. As far as I know, it's the only planet we've got.

When did the Communists take over outer space? (3, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889123)

This is what you expect when you get policy made by academic/"scientists." Communism has been damn near wiped off the face of the earth and only in acadamia does it still exist - and they seek to expand this to the stars.

Imagine if these guys were around as the American west was being settled. Or when colonists were first ariving in the Americas.

Actually, in the latter case it was. The pilgrims initially attempted a communist-style society - from each according to his means, to each accoreding to his needs. They nearly starved to death. The next season they switched to a more capitalistic system and wound up with a surplus.

These clowns continually ignore the metaphysical truth that property rights are causal. If an individual cannot do as he chooses with the crops he grows grow, he will not willingly grow them. While you can compel an individual to grow them at the point of a gun, you cannot use the same method to get him to invent ways to harvest more efficiently. Brute force compulsion cannot inspire innovation - just manual labor at best.

Preventing private property rights in space will provide no incentive to develop it. The solution is simple - roll out like America's Western expansion. You can't claim anything until you set foot out there, and put some reasonable limit on how much land each individual can claim when there is a shortage.

Bury my heart at wounded knee (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889128)

Having just finished reading this book [] I have to say another land grab is not an enticing proposition.

"May 06, 2002" ?!?!?! (2, Informative)

jbarr (2233) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889132)

Um, the article is dated May 06, 2002. Don't we have anything new to discuss?

People of the Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889134)

So, if this lawyer owns the sun, could we make him relocate there?

Lawyer Wars (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889136)

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..
There was a gigantic court room, called the SCOstar, was set up in space, threatening those who live in peace on the planets below. The court room, and all space around it are owned by a group of people called, "The Lawyers", and their enigmatic leader, Darth McBride.
However, in a small planet, a new rebel leader was born, his name was Linus Tuxwalker, and he had the power of source.
After much training he joined a rebel force who found a weakness in the "SCOstar". However, before they could launch, the lawyers came down and sued the rebels for slander against lawyers, and sued them under the DMCA for illegally reverse-engineering the SCOstar....all was not well with the universe...

Re:Lawyer Wars (1)

Greg Larkin (696202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889196)

I liked episodes 4, 5, and 6 of this movie, but episodes 1 and 2 sucked!

Sun (1)

5m477m4n (787430) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889140)

I say let the lawyer have the sun. I'll help him pack, maybe he can bring some of his lawyer friends?

important... (2, Insightful)

feelyoda (622366) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889147)

If you want private space ventures, you need private property rights in space. Otherwise, there is little incentive to do commercial ventures. Since the discovery of the new world, private property has been a key to getting people interested in coming. I would suggest that a human or robotic presence would be enough to claim a certain surface area of land on a planet or asteroid, if it had not yet been claimed. This way, there will be few disputes, as a first landing will be obvious, and the incentives to expedite exploration are clear. What people fail to realize also is that having private property also means that it can be changed hands in a market. It wasn't like when America was owned by a few folks and everyone else in the world said "drat, now no one else will ever be able to own land!"

jeez (1)

CoryS0L0 (702326) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889152)

God damn Manifest Destiny

Someone had to say it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889153)

All your space are belong to us.

America to become like England (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889172)

Surely if the power-mad American politicians will want to continue their over-regulation, social-engineering, and blatant disregard for the constitution and take it off world, there will be plenty of offworlders who will disagree. Frontiers + rule of law often lead to revolution. We can only hope.

Planetary settlements probably never happen (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889181)

I suspect that we will never have mass settlements on Mars (or anywhere else). Why? Because it's a unique environment. The preservationists undoubtedly will want to keep it pure so it can be studies without earthly contamination. That will certainly happen in the short term; the longer term? I can't say for sure, but I suspect that everytime someone will try to pass a bill allowing settlements, they will find a reason that more study is needed.

It's not iron-clad in my mind, but it's my gut feeling.

Besides, except for a few wackos, I really doubt that many people will want to live there. Mars is a big freakin' rock! Sure, some sci-fi geeks /think/ they want to go, but generally people need some green.

The future of space settlements is in manufactured settlements with earth-like environments (and spin-gravity), not planetary settlements.

A la Kubrick (2, Interesting)

cynic10508 (785816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889191)

When I read "Lawyers in Space..." I immediately heard the Blue Danube while picturing an attorney, briefcase clutched firmly in hand, slowly spiraling his way through space.

Space and commerce (5, Interesting)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 9 years ago | (#9889195)

. There is not, and should not be, any privatization of outer space. It is a common thing that should belong to all
It's hard to know where to begin to refute such stupidity. Space will not be a part of everyday life until it is economically viable; that is to say, until the value of things you can do in space exceeds the cost of getting into space in the first place. If it costs you USD 10Bn to get to an asteroid and back and you can bring back USD 11Bn worth of minerals with you, then getting a job in space will be no harder than getting a job on an oil rig, or in a mine. But if, as soon as you get back to Earth, your minerals are confiscated because they "belong to all", then why would you bother going? If your colony can be raided by anyone with a ship and there's no policing based on ownership, how is that different from your home being robbed now?

Until and unless a legal framework for ownership of assets (perhaps by being the first to land on them and remain for a period of time) exists, space will remain the preserve of a self-perpetuating government-academic elite and a dream for the common man - but that common man's taxes are what'll pay for it all still. Once space is opened up to industry, then ordinary people can move there, and only then.


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9889209)

from the forty-acres-and-a-mule dept.

That is obviously a racist slur, Michael. First 'solly cholly", now this.
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