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Grant number like: FA-54969-09

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Stuart Banner
UCLA; Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA 90024-4201)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2009 – 6/30/2010

A History of Property in the United States

The project is a book about the history of property in the United States, with an emphasis on how new forms of property have emerged in response to technological and cultural change. Examples from the past include shares in business enterprises, rights to exploit intangible assets like celebrity and news, and rights to resources like segments of the electromagnetic spectrum. Examples from the present include rights in genetic material, in indigenous culture, and in digital music. The book's overall thesis is that the emergence of new forms of property has followed a standard pattern, in which some change external to the legal system gives rise to a group of people who stand to gain from recognizing property rights in a particular asset. Because the benefits of such recognition are typically concentrated in a relatively small group, while the costs are usually diffused over a much larger group, the result has been the steady expansion of the domain of property.