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The Trouble with Trespass

Dan L. Burk

University of California, Irvine School of Law


Journal of Small and Emerging Business Law, Vol. 4, 2000

Several courts have now recognized the common law action of trespass to chattels as a viable claim to enjoin unwanted e-mail communications on networked computer systems. However, this archaic claim is a poor fit to the context of cyberspace, and courts have had to substantially revise the elements of the claim to accommodate it to computer networks. In doing so, they have created a new species of property right which is now being applied to a wide variety of automated computer interactions. The assertion of an exclusionary interest over such interactions may lead to a type of ?anti-commons? tragedy that could threaten the integrity of the global Internet system.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

JEL Classification: K2, K4, H4

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Date posted: June 20, 2000 ; Last revised: October 10, 2015

Suggested Citation

Burk, Dan L., The Trouble with Trespass (2000). Journal of Small and Emerging Business Law, Vol. 4, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=223513 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.223513

Contact Information

Dan L. Burk (Contact Author)
University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )
4500 Berkeley Place
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
949-824-9325 (Phone)
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