Finding property in new places – property in cyber and outer space
The fields of virtual property and property in space are both new areas of property law that could not have been envisaged a hundred years ago. In both of these new fields, things and other objects of property are located in places that have not previously been considered capable of harbouring property in the traditional sense. New technological and societal developments have resulted in both the creation of property (in virtual worlds) and the ability to get to property (in space), and questions have to be asked about how property law can and will function in these new areas. This article discusses some of the important property questions posed by the creation of these new fields of property law. Although there is some correlation between the unique questions posed by the environments that these new areas of law deal with, each of the fields has some idiosyncrasies that are influenced to a large degree by the location of the property objects in each area. This article highlights these similarities, while simultaneously pointing out some of the main differences between them and traditional (Earth-based) property law.
KEYWORDS: virtual property; property law; cyber law; objects of property; ownership; property in space; space law.