Thomson Reuters launched its newest journal in February of this year. Property Law Review is the only forum which brings together a range of approaches to both real and personal property. It is for both the academic and practitioner in the field, including commercial litigators who may find themselves in cases where novel and difficult property questions arise.
One such potential issue that was discussed in the first part of the journal was the question of whether email accounts are a form of property. Here’s an extract from Hannah Yee Fen Lim’s article:
To look at the question of whether email accounts can be the subject of testamentary disposition, the first issue to consider is whether there is property in the email account, or whether it is merely a non-proprietary and contractual licence to access the email account which comes to an end upon the death of the account holder. If there is property in the email account, then the next question is who is the owner of that property. Traditional paper mail would undoubtedly have been regarded as part of Justin’s personal belongings and would have been passed to his family. Should email accounts be treated differently? Are email accounts property that can be divested?
It should be made clear that what is at issue here is not the status of individual emails. Individual emails, if original, raise a different set of issues. If the emails are original, they have some protection under copyright law; but, in any event, the aim of copyright law has traditionally been to protect the right of reproduction and distribution and not access.
The second part of Property Law Review (to be cited as ‘Prop L Rev’) is currently going into production and is due to publish in July, so now is a good time to subscribe either in hard copy or online. The journal will be publishing one volume per year, comprising three parts.
Perhaps you have been doing some research in this area, have come across a case that throws up some relevantly interesting questions, or would like to write up a paper in response to one published in an earlier part. Why not write up your work and submit it for publication? Submissions are always welcome and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. See here for more information about submission requirements.