Theft of free papers
crossf at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Sun Oct 28 14:32:30 PST 2001
While my gut instincts tell me that the taking of an entire run of free
papers is theft, I'm finding it hard to defend. Consider the following,
concededly not terribly realistic, hypo:
Imagine a small magazine that thrives on newsstand sales, without
subscribers (or relatively few). The magazine is about to publish a
shocking expose of a congressperson, company, etc. A well-heeled
organization purchases all of the newsstand copies. Dubious action, with
similar free press issues, but certainly not theft.
In a sense, even free papers are "purchased." The acquirer must make the
effort to visit the distribution site, pick up a paper, and carry it off.
I think the conduct at issue here is similar to the purchaser of all copies
of the expose.
Herbert D. Kelleher Centennial Professor of Business Law
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
More information about the Conlawprof