Although commercial space law is still in its infancy, the authors' call to enact space legislation based on the principles of the Deep Seabed Mineral Resource Act would be a great leap forward in the quest for economic expansion in the high frontier.
Austin, Texas (PRWEB) June 2, 2008
A new article in the Boston Globe (link below) quotes a man who has sold 10 million dollars in deeds to Lunar real estate.
None of those deeds are valid, and a new article by Alan Wasser and Doug Jobes in the Journal of Air Law and Commerce explains why. According to the article, the person who sold the deeds did not meet the single most important criteria for ownership of unclaimed land: use and occupation.
However, there may be a benefit to the sale of those fake deeds. If so many people have been willing to spend that much money on phony lunar real estate, it shows that the sale of real deeds, based on a true private settlement, could pay for the cost of establishing a real community on the moon.
Dr. Jeffrey D. Fisher, a nationally recognized real estate expert, confirms that the sales of novelty deeds represents a fair comparison with the real Lunar deeds that may one day exist: "If an entity were selling land sanctioned by the U.S. government, which would make the ownership rights more official, then I can see the value being even greater." (Dr. Fisher is the Director of the Center for Real Estate Studies at the Indiana University School of Business.)
Alan Wasser, Chairman of the Space Settlement Institute, stresses that "land claims can only be made after there is real use and occupation - that is, real people living and working in a permanent settlement on the moon - and a space line going back and forth. Selling lunar land before that happens is a scam, even though it is also a good market test."
It's long been known that the right to sell Lunar real estate would be the only economic incentive that could make a privately funded space program profitable - but there was doubt about whether that would be legal under accepted international space treaties. The newly published article in the Journal of Air Law & Commerce, the oldest and most respected law journal in its field, has had a significant effect on the future of entrepreneurial space development by putting that doubt to rest. The article was written by Alan Wasser and Douglas Jobes of the Space Settlement Institute.
The article demonstrates, through dozens of expert opinions, legal precedents, and historical records, that while nations cannot claim "national sovereignty" in space, the U.S. would be allowed to recognize an established private settlement's land claims, and permit the sale of parts of that Lunar real estate to U.S. citizens back on Earth. All other nations could do the same for their citizens, and the same rules would apply for private settlements established on Mars or an asteroid. That could make an entrepreneurial space settlement profitable.
The law journal article takes up all of the possible objections to private property in space, and attempts to answer each of them through precedents as varied as the Russian settlement of Alaska, the U.S. Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources Act, and the U.S.-Iran Treaty of 1957, historical documents, legal principles, as well as expert opinions from contemporary experts and historical authorities from Seneca to Heinlein.
Peter Diamandis, creator of the X-Prize says: "I agree. Ownership will be the only powerful driver to open our frontier."
Space law expert Rosanna Sattler, of the Boston law firm of Posternak Blankstein & Lund, said "Although commercial space law is still in its infancy, the authors' call to enact space legislation based on the principles of the Deep Seabed Mineral Resource Act would be a great leap forward in the quest for economic expansion in the high frontier."
A PDF file of the article from The Journal of Air Law and Commerce:
The Boston Globe article can be found at: