Select Page

Property I
University of Denver School of Law
Cheever, Federico


A. Acquisition by Conquest
1. Johnson v. M’Intosh
a. Rule: Subject only to the American Indian right of occupancy, the discovery of land in America by a European power gives absolute title.

B. Acquisition by Capture
1. Pierson v. Post
a. Rule of Capture: that something that is no ones’ property and is subjected to someone’s capture, it becomes property when it becomes under the exclusive possession of someone. (Default Rule)
(1) Mere pursuit does not establish property interest. Must occupy the animal, or wound the animal showing the intent to possess.
2. Ghen v. Rich
a. Rule: When a hunter apprehends an animal by custom, title to a wild animal is acquired.
3. Keeble v Hickeringill
a. Rule: a person may not act with malice to prevent another from capturing wild animals in pursuit of his livelihood.
(1) Control based on Rule Ownership of Land or “Constructive Possession”– ratione soli
(2) Ratione Soli— refers to the conventional view that an owner of land has possession — constructive possession of wild animals on the owner’s land
(a) Landowners are regarded as the prior possessors of any animal ferae naturae on their land, until the animal is taken off.
C. Acquisition by Creation
1. Int’l News Serv. v. AP
a. Rule: Company which has spent money, skill and labor in creating news for its own profit may exclude others from using that news until the marketable value of its has dissipated.
(1) If the court allows other parties to copy another’s new and unique news,

y at your pleasure) . . . a man’s property is limited to the chattels that embody his invention. Others may imitate these at their pleasure . . .” p. 65
(1) One can copy and use as much as they want absent a statute or K stating otherwise, i.e., unfair use statutes.

b. Copyright Law
(1) Intellectual property protection is built into the Const.
(a) U.S. Const. Art 1, Section 8, Clause 8.
i) “The Congress shall have Power . . . to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries . . .”
(b) § 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general
i) (a) Copyright protection subsists . . . in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:
a) literary works;
b) musical works, including any accompanying words;
c) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
d) pantomimes and choreographic works;
e) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
f) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
g) sound recordings; and
h) architectural works.
(2) § 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general. .