From: Bo Zimmerman (bo_at_zimmers.net)
Date: 2004-06-18 20:11:43
Hello everyone, <!-- imagine you inherit a fruitgarden with apples and pears, which has been left alone for ten years. Because nobody cared, the neighbouhood got used to pick their own fruit every autumn. You as the new owner, are only interested in the apples as the pears have no real commercial value for you. So you can leave them hanging to rot or.... tell the neighbourhood generously to help themself with the pears as you don't have a really need for them for the moment . As you have the law on your side, most people will accept the situation. But what are you going to do with people that still pick (thus steal) your apples as well? //--> I wonder if this is true. In Texas, as in 49/50 of the U.S. states (and perhaps the world?) there is a legal theory called the common law. What that says in a nutshell is that you can gain and lose certain rights over time just through their practice becoming commonly accepted. The classic example we were given in school is about the person who sits on their porch and watches the kids cross his lawn on the way to school every day, and then wakes up one morning and decides to say "no"! The kids could claim rightly that the property owner had given up his kid-crossing rights over the last 10 years of knowingly letting them do so without complaint. In your example, you mention someone who inherits an orchard and discovers people have been picking from it. Wouldn't a better example be someone who inherits the orchard, and then sits in a rocking chair indifferently while people pick fruit from it for 10 years? If so, I wonder how/whether, under the common law, some rights were not lost through this negligence to enforce their rights. - Bo Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
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