Space Cases: The Weirdest Legal Claims in Outer Space
2012 06 01

By Adam Mann | Wired.com



In January, a Quebec man named Sylvio Langvein walked into a courthouse in Canada and filed a suit declaring himself owner of the planets in our solar system, four of Jupiter’s moons, and the interplanetary space between.

By way of explanation, Langvein said he wanted to collect planets the same way that others collect hockey cards, and also prevent China from establishing outposts above his head.

The judge overseeing the case, Alain Michaud, dismissed it in March, calling Langvein a “quarrelsome litigant” whose paranoid actions were an abuse of the Canadian legal system. (This was Langvein’s 45th lawsuit — including four motions to the Supreme Court of Canada — since 2001).

The case is bizarre, but not unprecedented.

“Every now and then, someone thinks no one has claimed the moon before, and then rushes to claim it,” wrote Virgiliu Pop, a space law researcher at the Romanian Space Agency, in an email to Wired. “Humankind has a short collective memory, so the claimant is able to create some buzz before the story dies out — to be followed by a similar story, years later.”

As we enter an era when people are seriously advocating that the U.S. establish property rights on the moon and scholars debate the legality of mining asteroids, it’s interesting (and relevant) to look back at the people who have tried to assert ownership of the moon, Mars, other planets, and stars throughout history.

In 2006, Pop literally wrote the book on this matter, titled Unreal Estate: The Men Who Sold The Moon, which he describes as “a serious analysis of a trivial subject.” The compendium offers plenty of outrageous stories, and here we look at some of the book’s most spurious and strange space cases.
Inherit the Moon

Alexander the Great is said to have wept when told by his friend, the philosopher Anaxarchus, that there are countless worlds in the universe.

“Do you not think it a matter worthy of lamentation that when there is such a vast multitude of worlds, we have not yet conquered one?” Alexander said.

Great as Alexander’s ambitions were, he never attempted to draw up documents declaring himself owner of anything in the sky. But one of the earliest modern cases where such claims are made comes from King Frederick the Great, who ruled Prussia in the mid-1700s.

The king was said to have sought help from a great healer named Aul Jurgens and, in exchange for the miraculous cures he received, bequeathed the moon to Jurgen’s family until the end of time. This story comes from one of Jurgen’s descendants, Martin, who in 1996 tried to claim lunar ownership through his illustrious ancestor.

The next year, scholars at the Institute for Air and Space Law in the Netherlands denied Jurgen’s claim on the grounds that the donation by a Prussian sovereign who didn’t actually own the moon in the first place wasn’t valid.

Lindsay’s Archapellago

One night in 1936, A. Dean Lindsay looked up at the moon and thought to himself, “Nobody owns it!”

Seeking to rectify this situation, Lindsay marched into the Pittsburgh Notary Public office and presented a document declaring that he owned “[a]ll of the property known as planets, islands-of-space or other matter, henceforth to be known as ‘A.D. Lindsay’s archapellago.’”

Lindsay’s misspelled archipelago included every planet visible from any other planet or mass in space but omitted three bodies: the Earth, moon, and Saturn. The Earth, Lindsay reasoned, belonged to its inhabitants, but he drew up separate documents declaring himself owner of the moon and Saturn. (Why these two bodies in particular needed separate deeds, no one really knows.) He also registered the documents with the Irwin County Court House in Ocilla, Georgia.

Lindsay apparently planned to make a profit with his new properties (he had previously sold his two prior claims – the Pacific and Atlantic oceans) though little else came from the claims. Lindsay died in June of 1969, just a month shy of the Apollo 11 landing.


[...]


Read the full article at: wired.com






Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?

Billionaires should be allowed to BUY up planets and rip up an out-of-date space treaty, claims expert








Related Articles
Lawyers against law: Montreal legal eagles march against outrageous anti-protest bill
SpaceX capsule docks at space station, opens new era
"Scotty" to make trip to final frontier on SpaceX rocket
America’s secret space plane has been in orbit for over a year - and no one knows what it’s doing
The Ark in Space - A Compendium of Creatures
Spacecraft Footage: The Far Side Of The Moon (Video)
NASA’s Apollo Landing Sites ’Off Limits’


Latest News from our Front Page

Magaluf bar where British girl was filmed performing sex acts on 24 men is shut down after police investigation into video
2014 07 26
Is this what the youth in Britain and Europe is spending their their energy, money, efforts and innocence on? The young girl, pictured, was lured into performing multiple sex acts after organisers offered a free drink although she thought a holiday was on offer* Council officials launched an official investigation after the video went viral Playhouse bar in Magaluf and entertainment ...
Prejudice is a Form of Common Sense - Hard-Wired Into the Human Brain, Says ASU Study
2014 07 26
Contrary to what most people believe, the tendency to be prejudiced is a form of common sense, hard-wired into the human brain through evolution as an adaptive response to protect our prehistoric ancestors from danger. So suggests a new study published by Arizona State University researchers in the May issue of the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology," which contends that, ...
The State is a Bully
2014 07 24
In the history of Western philosophy and social theory, no really silly idea has been more successful than the theory of the social contract. It is in fact not a theory of the social contract. It is a theory of the political contract. It is the idea, promoted by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that, at some point in ...
NATO Exercise in Ukraine Coincided with MH-17 Shoot-down
2014 07 24
Rapid Trident was omitted from the flurry of coverage on the shoot-down MH-17. From the U.S. Army in Europe website: Rapid Trident supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. The exercise helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and governmental agencies. ...
Warning of ’imminent’ terror attack in Norway
2014 07 24
Norwegians were warned Thursday of the concrete possibility of a terror attack occurring in that country at the hands of people with connections to an extremist group in Syria. A press conference was called in Oslo, Norway on Thursday where an announcement was made of a "possible concrete threat" to national security in that country from terrorists related to an extremist ...
More News »