Up for Grabs: A Workable System for the Unilateral Acquisition of Chattels

This paper is about the everyday occurrence of coming across an object in the
world and evaluating whether or not it is up for grabs. My project explores the
shared space at the precipice of the laws of finders, abandonment, destruction, and
conversion: a space we often inhabit, but wherein our rights in relation to an object
are indiscernible ex ante under current law. I propose a system by which actors and
courts may evaluate the reasonableness of a person’s actions from the moment he or
she chooses to acquire a chattel unilaterally. My system derives from the signals
chattels convey to us—signals that have everything to do with context and little or
nothing to do with value.

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