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Property I
University of Iowa School of Law
Matsumoto, Barry D.

What is property?
· Possession:
o Certain amount of actual control over the property
o An intent to possess the property and exclude others.

Acquisition of Property Rights

Acquisition of Property Rights by Capture
· Title to Wild Animals is initially acquired by taking possession of the wild animal:
o Mere chasing does not give right to possession against other who captures it by intervening
o If an animal is mortally wounded or caught in a trap so that its capture is certain, the hunter acquires a right to possession and title which may not be defeated by another’s intervention.
o Title acquired by possession can be lost if the wild animal escapes and returns to its natural habitat.
· Pierson v. Post
o Post (P) was hunting a fox. D knew this and killed the fox and carried it off.
o Barbeyrac Rule (Favored by the Majority): the first hunter (Post) who chases the wild animal has the property right against the second hunter who has possession if: first hunter must manifest intent to take animal, must deprive animal of natural liberty, and brought him within certain control
· Popov v. Hayashi
o Both P and D intended to establish and maintain control over a baseball that Bonds. P got the ball in his glove and a crowd mobbed him, causing it to leave his control. D got the ball and put it in his pocket. P claimed that he had sufficient possession to claim title.
o When an actor undertakes significant but incomplete steps to achieve possession of a piece of abandoned property and the effort is interrupted by the unlawful acts of others, the actor has a legally cognizable pre-possessory interest in the property sufficient to support a claim of conversion (the act of depriving the owner of his property without permission or justification)
Acquisition of Property Rights by Find
· A finder is a person who rightfully acquires possession of the property of another that has been lost, misplaced, abandoned or hidden so as to be classified as treasure trove.
· Lost property
o personal property whose possession has been parted with casually, involuntarily or unconsciously.
o Finder acquires title to property against all but the true owner.
· Misplaced property
o Personal property which has been intentionall

n which the property was found.
Acquisition of Property Rights by Creation
· Right of Publicity
o Protects persons against unauthorized use of their likeness, voice, etc…typically for a commercial advantage.
§ White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
ú Samsung used Vanna White’s likeness (in robot form) in their advertisement without her consent. White sues Samsung for attempting to capitalize on her fame to enhance their fortune.
ú Right of publicity protects a celebrities property interest in his or her identity from commercial exploitation…regardless of the method by which it is appropriated.
§ White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (Appeal)
ú After a judgment for White, Samsung appealed for a hearing of the entire justice panel (en banc).
The right of publicity extends beyond the commercial use of a person’s likeness and name to any appropriation of a person’s identity