Centralized Posting and the Right to Exclude in the Digital Age

40 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2012 Last revised: 17 Oct 2012

See all articles by Richard M. Hynes

Richard M. Hynes

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: September 21, 2012


Many European nations recognize a right to hike, hunt or engage in other recreation on private land without the owner’s consent. Some American states once recognized variants of this right, but today all recognize the landowner’s right to exclude outdoor enthusiasts. Most states insist that landowners post signs or physically mark their property to exercise their right. This essay argues that states should allow landowners to “post” their property by checking a box when they pay their property taxes. States should then provide this information to the public in a form that can be accessed on the internet and stored on telephones or handheld GPS devices. This system would reduce the landowner’s cost of posting and improve the notice given to the public. This system could also enhance the government’s ability to serve as an intermediary between landowners and outdoor enthusiasts by negotiating for public access to private land. By playing the role of intermediary, the government substantially reduces bargaining costs and changes the analysis of the optimal allocation of property rights. Modern technology makes it much harder to argue for a general public right to access private land.

Keywords: Property, Hunting, Posting

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Hynes, Richard M., Centralized Posting and the Right to Exclude in the Digital Age (September 21, 2012). Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2012-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2150186 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2150186

Richard M. Hynes (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-3743 (Phone)

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