Adam Mossoff reminds us that property rights in land stem from legislative action as well as judicial action:
“As all first-year property students learn each year, the foundation of Anglo-American property law is based in a statute, and many property rights in land were created by statutes enacted by Parliament or early American state legislatures. In fact, the first statute — the Statute Quai Empotores of 1290 — was enacted by Parliament to overrule feudal “custom” enforced by the “common law” decisions at that time, creating by statutory fiat the basic foundational rule of the Anglo-American property right that property rights are alieanable.” (Emphasis in original.)
This is one step in his argument that libertarians base their anti-intellectual-property stance on a myth about how IP is all statutory (and therefore inadequately bottom-up in origin) whereas rights to land are properly grounded in bottom-up common law.
I link to this not because I’m particularly interested in the history of land rights or IP, but because I’m reading more law and economics work lately. Mossoff illustrates what I enjoy about that field: attention to the messy details of history, narrative arguments, and lots of words strung together.