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Natural Social Contract Annotations

Abandoned Property

The reader will only be able to understand the purpose and meaning of this annotation and its relationship to the Natural Social Contract (NSC), if s/he has first read the Introduction section of the NSC and its explanatory and elucidating annotation.

1) The maintenance condition on the Registration of a Parcel of Real Estate is necessary so that all Freemen can determine whether or not the volume of space it occupies and any Existent within that space is already "Owned", and what are the exact terms of Covenants on Real Estate. This is the only sound way to prevent disputes over Real Estate and is far better than trying to resolve them after they begin (most often from ambiguities and misunderstandings). Public specification of the boundaries, where they cannot easily be marked or if the Owner does not wish to mark them, together with the use of GPS position determining equipment now generally available, will also greatly help prevent Harm from UnIntentional trespass. Since every Freeman Must already maintain hir Identifying Information constantly available on a UCN, it is only a very small additional Requirement that s/he also maintain Deeds of Entitlement including Covenants for all hir Real Estate at the same place. Effectively, the Stipulation of the NSC, that Real Estate and all UnRegistered Property within become ReClassified as "Abandoned" if "UnRegistered" for more than 30 consecutive days, is the Penalty Clause for Non-Performance of the Requirement of maintaining Registration. The 30 days is a somewhat arbitrary time that seemed to me to be neither too much nor too little, all things considered, but I am fully open to any reasonable adjustment of this timing (as I am with all other times specified in the NSC).

2) Stipulation B.2.b means that the only way some Object can be Abandoned is by placing it (causing it to be) within another Freeman's Real Estate or Unowned space and then leaving ("dispossessing") it. If placed within another Freeman's Real Estate, an Object would not be Classified as "Abandoned" only if there were Permission from the Owner of the Real Estate (best done under the terms of a Valid Contract making hir Responsible for its Adequate Control) for the Owner of the Object to retain Ownership of it under certain conditions. Thus, if you find something on your own Real Estate while you certainly may return it to its previous Owner (you are now its Entitled Owner), there is no Requirement on you to do so. On the other hand, if you find something on someone else's Real Estate (say, some Egress Real Estate used by many people), then you have no Property Entitlement to it because it is either "Abandoned" and thus the Property of the Owner of the Real Estate within the boundaries of which it sits, or it is the Property of some other user of the Egress Real Estate, which is temporarily under the care of the Egress Real Estate Owner. However, this also means that any sensible Owner of Egress Real Estate will require that any Property brought onto hir Real Estate which is not continually in the Possession of a Freeman Must be "Registered", otherwise the Egress Owner will have no objective method of resolving disputes between hir clients. Finally, as stated in the Stipulation B.1.c.i, if you find something within Unowned space, then you can only claim Ownership of it by establishing that it is either "UnRegistered" or "Abandoned".

3) Any energy and its Information content which is not contained will quickly disperse from within an initial volume of space and then belongs to whomever can capture and Possess it. One way to understand this consistently with other aspects stated here is to think of the energy as being Abandoned onto the Real Estate of someone else or into UnOwned space. This will always be the situation with pure energy since it appears to be impossible to uniquely define it and thus to Register it. Once on hir Real Estate, it is the Entitlement of the Owner to do with it as s/he likes. If it is Harming hir, s/he may bring Charges of Violation against whomever let the energy escape and onto hir Real Estate.

4) As the old maxim goes "you cannot unring a bell". In the same manner, there is no current mechanism by which a human can return (as with an Object so that s/he no longer Possesses it) any Information that you transmit or communicate to hir, ie. that you let hir take into hir mind by any perceptual Method. While it is true that s/he may forget the Information or may not fully understand it, once Permitted to perceive it, it is then hir Entitled Property to do with it whatever s/he can and desires to do (as well as still being your Entitled Property - ie. it has been duplicated), unless s/he has prior to the percepts entering hir body, signed a Valid Contract concerning what s/he will do with the Information s/he is being Permitted to sense. Thus, it is clear that the NSC totally rejects the methods of handling "intellectual property" which are extant in the current society to deal with copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc.

5) No residual Property Entitlement remains with any previous Owner of Abandoned Property since by his Act of either Intentional Abandonment, or lack of care resulting in the Property being lost (UnIntentionally Abandoned), the previous Owner has shown that s/he has a low Evaluation of the Property. If the finder and newly Entitled Owner wishes to be generous and return some or all of the Property Entitlement to the previous Owner or sell it back to hir at less than its market Value, then s/he may, of course do that. For example, it would be entirely reasonable for next door neighbors to have an understanding or even a Covenant that any object that moves across the common Real Estate boundary will be returned upon request or can be returned even without request.

6) It is important to note that while a Freeman who Abandons Property (either Intentionally or UnIntentionally) gives up the Entitlement to RePossess it from the Freeman within whose Property or Entitled Possessions it is now located Possesses it, s/he still is the Responsible Agent for any Harm related to that Property of which s/he is the Effective Cause (since s/he is the Responsible Agent for all Harm of which s/he is the Effective Cause). Therefore, if you lose some Existent that has a potential to Harm someone merely as a result of its unavoidable Changes with time and environment, it behooves you to ascertain its location, to inform the Freeman within whose Property or Possessions it is located, and to conclude a Valid Contract with hir either for its return to you or for its transfer of Entitled Possession or Ownership to hir so that you either get it back or s/he assumes Responsibility for its potential for Harm without additional human Action. If such Freeman will do neither of these for a reasonable fee, then you would have to Decide whether it is best to trespass (not an automatic Harm by itself, recall) on hir Property in order to get it back (and keep it safe) or to leave it. Both of these might have Harmful results with the amounts of Restitution being, as usual, fully open to the judgment of Social Preferencing. If any other Freeman Acts upon the Existent after you have lost it, then s/he becomes the Responsible Agent for any directly ensuing Harm from it.