Everyday space law
And like rock stars, high-flying counsel who practice in the rarefied orbit of space law are now helping to make headlines on the front page of mainstream newspapers. Good example from this weekend (as I catch up with my space lawyer and space law news alerts, and I do have many others, but always read those first), this page one San Francisco Chronicle article pops up in lights: Final frontier for lawyers -- property rights in space: Land claims, commercial schemes and dreams have legal eagles hovering.
Ah. But since when is property rights in space a front page mainstream news item? How come daily newspaper readers are suddenly interested in obscure space law cases like Gregory Nemitz's claim to asteroid 433? Slow news days? No, not lately. Rather, as the age of commercial space and space tourism rockets ahead, emerging issues such as space property law grab the attention and imagination of would-be space tourists, entrepreneurs and explorers everywhere. And these days, a sought-after group of starring space counsel stands by to quickly step and help media outlets figure out the law (or lack thereof) on high.
So what if reporter Keay Davidson calls space law an "emerging circus"? Lawyers have been talking and writing about space stuff for decades. Now everyone's listening: to lawyers like Joanne Gabrynowicz, Jim Dunstan, Rosanna Sattler, Wayne White and many others.
It's a rocking new space law world. (Oh, and along with the front page article, the Chronicle online editors put up a poll which asks the question, do earthlings have a right to claim property rights in space? And the three choices are:
--Yes, we should be able to make a claim for anything that is not owned.
--No, space should remain the province of all beings.
--Only if we can send all the lawyers there.
No kidding. Go see for yourself. (And guess which selection is proving extremely popular? It figures. Well, where do you think Elvis went when he left the building?)