Property Matters: How Property Rights are Under Assault--and why You Should Care

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Simon and Schuster, 1997 - Law - 390 pages
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What matters more, spotted owls or the right to cut timber on your own land? Who has a greater right to use the water of the Colorado River - California farmers, Denver housewives, or white water rafters? How do we protect computer software copyrights from piracy by hackers in Beijing? James DeLong argues that the nature of property has evolved far past the ability of our legal and political systems to cope. Using case studies and anecdotes drawn from all areas of everyday life - from copyright and trademark protection to the fights over water rights in New York, California, and elsewhere - DeLong recounts numerous horror stories about government abuses of property owners and their rights. These conflicts, he argues, are the result of the woefully inadequate structure of our laws, as well as a lack of respect for the private ownership of property. What is true for land can become true for intellectual property. Can makers of computer software be forced to donate their product to "worthy" (as defined by the government) causes? Can the courts mandate that attorneys donate a percentage of their time to representing indigent clients? These scenarios may seem far-fetched, but they are grounded in the same logic as the laws protecting endangered species and wetlands: that collective welfare often requires government to regulate, allocate, or confiscate resources. It is only a small step, DeLong argues, from applying this standard to physical property to extending it to intellectual property. Broad application of this anti-property ideology is giving birth to a diverse and powerful populist political movement, one that unites small landowners, knowledge workers, conservationists, andlibertarians with a common interest in protecting their property rights from arbitrary takings - whether the adversary is the federal government, the judiciary, or big business. DeLong shows how this burgeoning movement, a key component of the coalition that elected a Republican Congress, will redefine political alliances over the next decade.

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Property matters: how property rights are under assault--and why you should care

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Attempts to balance private property rights and public policy are being resolved today through constitutional debate. Among the issues is the extent to which "regulatory takings" are compensable under ... Read full review


Some Stories
A Primer on Property
Political Legitimacy
Endangered Species
The National Commons
Grass Timber Oreand Backpackers
Land Use and Zoning
The Quick Tour
Legal Issues
Matters of the Mind
Confused Alarms

Waterless World
Sorting It Out

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About the author (1997)

James V. DeLong has lived in Washington, DC, for four decades. He has been a lawyer, middle-manager, analyst, and research director for federal agencies; an executive and analyst at free market think tanks; a foundation executive; and a free-lance lawyer/consultant. His substantive experience encompasses energy and the environment; administrative law and procedure; property rights; consumer protection and competition policy; intellectual property; and high tech/telecom. He has written two books and numerous articles and papers. A full bibliography is at the website supporting this book, Mr. DeLong is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College, where he majored in American History, and a magna cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School, where he was Book Review Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

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