Res Nullius, emptiness, nothing and cyberspace
See, ed N Canny, 'The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume 1 The Origins of Empire', (OUP 1998), p42 & passim Chapter 2 of Anthony Pagden, 'The Struggle For Legitimacy'. This chapter is an excellent analysis of the early settlement of the New (empty) World by the English in the 16th century. Unbeknown to Pagden, the principles and issues he explicates and his reference to res nullius are highly applicable to the discovery and usage of (empty) cyberspace, the New New World. Is cyberspace any-one's property? Pagden's analysis (if,as Monstone, Smith and I see it, cyberspace is a New New World) can be transformed to treated of cyberspace specifically:
"Locke's theory of property lies at the centre of his political theory, and it has been seen as a crucial development in the language of rights in early-modern Europe. However, for all its complexity, and Locke's celebration of his own originality, it is, in the first instance, a development of the arguament from Roman Law known as res nullius. This maintained that all 'empty things', which included unoccupied lands, remained the common property of all mankind until they put to some, generally agricultural, use. 'In the Law of Nature and of Nations', John Donne told members of the Virginia Company in 1622, 'a land never inhabited by any, or utterly derelicted and immemorially abandoned by the former inhabitants, becomes theirs that will possess it.' "
ibid pp 42-43