Issue 343: End of Existence for Rights

Starting Date: 
Working Group: 
Closing Date: 

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 15/8/2017

Dear all,

We are looking to express a Right that applies to an Object, such as Ownership. As the Right only applies for a limited duration, we had though to create the Right as part of the Acquisition of the Object and then to have it be taken out of existence by the subsequent Acquisition.  Thus the Right, which as previously discussed is specific to the people and objects involved, would only be documented as existing when the specific people actually own the Object. 

However, Rights are Conceptual Objects, which state in their scope notes:

> They [Conceptual Objects] cannot be destroyed. They exist as long as they can be found on at least one carrier or in at least one human memory. Their existence ends when the last carrier and the last memory are lost

So although Rights are Persistent Items and can thus have an End of Existence, the scope note for Conceptual Object clarifies that they only actually have an End of Existence when there is no memory of them. This means for all practical purposes that it can never be used, as if there is no memory of it, then there could be no description in CRM of it.

This means that we cannot ascribe an end to the Right without ignoring the scope notes for Conceptual Object? Or is there another method to provide time-limited scope to the application of the legal privileges that the E30 embodies?

Posted by George Bruseker on 15/8/2017

Dear Rob et al.,

I would say that the modelling of conceptual object and its begin/end relation is correct also in this instance. It is not the existence of the right qua concept that terminates when the right over something expires. I would argue that the right can exist before it comes into validity or goes out of it. A right qua power over x lasts as long as its validity. We seem to have an equivocation of what we want to invoke by this class, the right qua concept or qua power over. Might want to think more about the scope note. But modelling wise, I think it might be addressed by having a new property for validity period which would define the limits of the right qua power and be distinct from its existence.

As an example to support my case, I would say that Michael Jackson’s Right over the Beatles Catalogue from 1985-2006 continues to exist qua conceptual object to this very moment (there are many carriers of this idea and we are referring to it now), but its validity period has definitely expired and is more or less known. 

Posted by Stephen Stead on 15/8/2017

Dear Rob, George and all,
George is absolutely correct that the right is the conceptual object of the right itself regardless of whether it is current or not. I do not agree that we need some new link from the right to time. The simple construct is to use an E7 Activity that uses a specific object (P16) (The right) and has a participant Actor in a specific role. If the right is on another object then that object is also a used specific object  (remember P16.1 mode of use is also available). I think this covers the scenarios that Rob is trying to deal with but would be very interested to see if there are other problem situations.

Posted by George on 15/8/2017

Hir Steve!

I can see the logic of that solution. First, that seems like an elegant solution which does not require adding properties.

Some quandaries though, for discussion. When we speak of the right of ‘ownership’ for example over x, do we speak of the one unique right of ownership that can be had over the thing and therefore it is one and only ever one? (it might have other right types as well, again uniquely bound to this one thing). This would mean concretely that we would say that for any man made thing, it will have one right of type ownership that is used at this time by actor z and at that time by actor q. Or do we think that the identity of the right is somehow linked to the actor claiming the right, so that it is the act of the claim of ownership of by X which creates the right (which may or may not be backed by something). In this case we could potentially have multiple rights of type ownership being used or claimed at the same time.

As I write, it makes me wonder if ‘use’ would be semantically accurate, in the sense that I am not necessarily exercising the right at any moment, I just hold or possess or claim it. The relation seems somehow more declarative and passive than the concrete action of using. (I imagine your counter-argument would be that this can be sufficiently denoted using the .1 property.)

My intuition on the idea of the declarative time is simply that what we may know and document in the db/kb could be the temporal extent of supposed validity of the ownership claim (established or no) which could also differ from the coming into existence of the right as such. I imagine perhaps the scenario of trying to get dig rights over a certain archaeological site. This tends to be quite a tedious and extended exercise. The application for the right would, in one way of thinking, bring the right into being and we might want to reason on that. e.g.: How long on average does it take archaeologists to get rights to dig on sites of type x comparatively from 1960-2010 in place y? Then, I imagine, the right itself qua power, would have a different time. I apply in 2012 and get rights for 2013-2016.

So perhaps it is a question of begin and end conditions of the right (which are not presently specified in the scope note). Does a right come to be with the object as such and is claimed or no? Making a doorknob implies that a right was generated that can or cannot be used/possessed/claimed by some actor and will continue to exist until the object is forgotten (and therefore the possibility of owning it). Or do we think that a right comes into being when someone claims it/declares it etc.?

Anyhow, I see the merits of your modelling suggestion, just curious about whether the issue raised raises the need to be more explicit in the scope note for right.

Posted by Stephen Stead on 15/8/2017

Hiya George
Using our basic principles:-
a] if we don't understand/know something model it as loosely as possible (or not at all!)
b] model based on actual data structures and schema
I suspect that there are many different types of Right that exist regardless of recognition and others that exist only when "claimed" in some way and that we should avoid modelling these unless we have concrete examples of their use and a good understanding of the identity criteria etc for them.
At the moment we can probably use P16.1 to differentiate sufficiently well for current use cases.
Part of the general requirement for data integration is to allow multiple opinions to be present in the KB so I would have thought that not tying the Right to a particular user who is exercising it would make integration easier. Thus if we have several different opinions about the Ownership of an object by different people for different periods of time. In would be easier to find those if all the opinions used the same instance of Right. Though of course we could reconcile that they were all one thing because they would all be linked to the same thing being owned.
We probably need to spend a bit of thinking time using the "Is this a good concept" criteria to hone the definition.

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 15/8/2017

Dear Stephen, George, all,

To make sure that we’re on the same page, if Rights are to be treated as concepts rather than the legal application of the concept, then I can conceive of the Right that I personally own Van Gogh’s “Irises”.  Not even that I am claiming to own the painting, just the notion of a theoretical ownership. I can write that down on a piece of paper and sneak it into our archive, ensuring that there is at least one carrier of this Right.  Thus, I could legitimately assert the existence of a Right, which applies to Irises and is possessed by me … correct?   And the creation of the idea is unrelated to the claimed period over which the rights are asserted to be possessed – I can conceive of my ownership lasting precisely 15 minutes, in the future. So the utility of “Right” as a class is very limited – it has nothing to do with the actual legal right of ownership (despite the scope note), it is instead an idea of ownership that makes no claim about reality.

If this is a correct understanding, it would be good to update the scope notes for E30 to clarify that it’s not the actual legal privileges in any meaningful sense.

The full extent of what we’re trying to capture is the situation where different parties have (legally or just by agreement between them) hold different shares in the object.  For example, a partial gift to a museum, where the value transfers over time from the donor to the museum (for tax reasons, one imagines), or for situations where art dealers collaborate to purchase an object, and then share the profits of sale in the same proportions (a good example of distinct ownership versus physical custody!).

In order to capture the proportion of ownership as a Dimension, we were very happy that has_dimension has a domain of Thing … and thus can be used with Conceptual Object and Right.  Right can be partitioned with has component from E89.  Thus:

_:r1 a Right ;
  applies_to <painting> ;
  possessed_by <group> ;
  has_component [
      a Right ;
      has_dimension [
          a Dimension ;
          has_value 70 ;
          has_unit <percentage> ] ;
      possessed_by <member1> ] ,   
      a Right ;
      has_dimension [
           a Dimension ;
           has_value 30 ;
           has_unit <percentage> ;
      possessed_by <member2> ] .

<group> a Group ;
      has_current_or_former_member <member1>, <member2> . 

Thus, to avoid the transfer of a Right (which cannot be modeled, per previous discussions), we create and destroy hierarchical Rights similar to the example above.

I agree with George that a new property to assert that the [notion of the] Right applies over a particular timespan would be the easiest solution.  Then has_type can be used to distinguish between actually legal Rights, and ones that are not legally valid or binding.  This would also make the sale of stolen objects significantly easier to model – it is the creation of a Right, with a has_type for its illegal status, that applies during the period until the item is discovered to have been stolen.

In terms of activities, I don’t think that quite fits, even with the problematic-in-RDF P16.1.  I could assert that Stephen possesses the reproduction rights for the Mona Lisa … that doesn’t imply that Stephen carried out any activity.

Posted by Steve on 20/8/2017

I am unclear how your thought experiment of "conceiving" of a right fits into the definition of an instance of E30 Right as a "legal privilege". Is your experiment is to consider what we might do about contested knowledge about instances of E30 Right; to consider fraudulent instances of rights that might be represented in knowledge systems as instances of E30 Right or as the basis of defining a new class or classes? If the later do you have any examples from documentation systems that we could draw on?

To aid my understanding of your sample snippets could you include the Class and Property identifiers. The sample for the lament cloth (from the website) is very clear, if a little more verbose, but would make your examples easier to follow for me.

Your assertion that an instance of E39 Actor P105R has right on E22 Man Made Object implies that you believe that instance of E39 Actor did perform the activity of holding the right and this can then be represented with an instance of E7 Activity. The case of you believing this statement to be untrue is dealt with using CRMinf.

PS Representing this in RDF is an implementation issue not a modelling one and the SIG has given guidance on possible Open and Closed World resolutions to the problem.

Posted by Robert on 20/8/2017


(a)  A Right _is_ a legal privilege, and thus it can stop existing when the legal privilege that it models no longer exists (counter to the conceptual object argument)

(b) A Right is the concept _of_ a legal privilege, and thus it can be one that is not justified by law, such as the most basic case of the necessary existence of the Right after the sale of the object by the holder of the Right.

It cannot be both.  Which is it?

Posted by George on 21/8/2017

Dear all,

I will try to succinctly state my ideas on the matter. In terms of the last question:

> Either
> (a)  A Right _is_ a legal privilege, and thus it can stop existing when the legal privilege that it models no longer exists (counter to the conceptual object argument)
> Or
> (b) A Right is the concept _of_ a legal privilege, and thus it can be one that is not justified by law, such as the most basic case of the necessary existence of the Right after the sale of the object by the holder of the Right.
> It cannot be both.  Which is it?

If the dilemma derives from my previous post, it’s not exactly what I meant to imply. A right IsA Conceptual Object in the CRM sense that it is a product of the mind and fits in the class hierarchy of such real world objects and should be consistent to the modelling thereof. The beginning of existence of a conceptual object relates to its being formulated as a thought and probably somewhere documented. As a well established principle of CRM, instances o conceptual object to not cease to exist until there is no more knowledge of them.

Therefore, I would argue that the begin condition of a legal right should be specified in the scope note of E30 to make clearer when it begins and to specifically indicate that this is not when the right comes into force (be extension not when it goes out of force), but rather when the right is formulated. It may be the case that in the scope note which we should enrich, the specific conditions of such a formulation of a right should be further refined in order to detail under what conditions the specific subclass of Conceptual Object that is Right can be said to come into existence. The formulation might speak of how such a begin is not only thinking abstractly of having the right over the Mona Lisa but rather must be asserted as an idea within an known legal framework or according to an established principle or some such under which the Actor in question could conceivably claim/assert this right.

I did not intend to say with my remarks that a Right is _merely_ the idea or concept of a right (although I can see how it might have read that way). Rather, I meant to say that because a right has been formulated/claimed (in the restricted sense I mention above) it may have come into existence and yet not be in force (meeting the conditions above of ‘being thought about’ and ‘being formulated by an actor who acts within some known legal framework or principle whereby they can reasonably be assumed to assert such claim). Likewise, once it has gone out of force, I would think that the instance of E30 Right has not ceased to exist but is merely our of force (we did not lose our knowledge about it which I believe is what we would intend if we said that it had ended to exist… there are no more carriers).

Quoting from E28 scope:

"They (ALL instances of E28 including instances of its subclasses -G.B.) cannot be destroyed. They exist as long as they can be found on at least one carrier or in at least one human memory. Their existence ends when the last carrier and the last memory are lost."

So, my intended point was that the begin and end conditions of right are not when it is valid/in force but something else.

With regards to Rob's proposal on typing then:

>    I agree with George that a new property to assert that the [notion of the] Right applies over a particular timespan would be the easiest solution.  Then has_type can be used to distinguish between actually legal Rights, and ones that are not legally valid or binding.  This would also make the sale of stolen objects significantly easier to model – it is the creation of a Right, with a has_type for its illegal status, that applies during the period until the item is discovered to have been stolen.

I don’t think it is necessary. The class, I think, really should pick out just those instances in the world of conceptual object that are specifically real ‘legal privileges concerning material and immaterial thing or their derivatives’. Of course these could be contested. That would be another good use of node (to document some argument for example that it is not valid, as per, I think, Steve’s suggestion).

The overall issue should be clarified, in my opinion, by a more robust scope note that specifies the identity, unity, begin and end conditions of existence of instances of E30 Right.

With regards to the subsequent modelling question of:

>>    In terms of activities, I don’t think that quite fits, even with the problematic-in-RDF P16.1.  I could assert that Stephen possesses the reproduction rights for the Mona Lisa … that doesn’t imply that Stephen carried out any activity.

I think that this raises an additional question of the scope note of E7. The scope note of E7 Activity and its label suggest ‘action’ to many users of the CRM:

'This class comprises actions intentionally carried out by instances of E39 Actor that result in changes of state in the cultural, social, or physical systems documented. This notion includes complex, composite and long-lasting actions such as the building of a settlement or a war, as well as simple, short-lived actions such as the opening of a door’

Yet the scope note also indicates, and it is fundamental to many CMR based models, that we are not speaking of some constantly on-going act. The Peloponnesian War lasted 30+ years but there were intervals in which it was not ‘happening' at all. It would still be an instance of E7 to my understanding.

What an instance of E7 does necessarily imply to my reading, is some conscious intention towards something (that can be perceived by 3rd parties and therefore documented). So, to my mind, so long as this is the case with the data under discussion (people aren’t taking up rights unbeknownst to themselves), then the E7 used specific object proposal that Steve proposes would function. In fact, in this case, where it seems that the issue under investigation is indeed active participation in arts dealing (if I understood correctly) and who actively used what and in what amount, it seems quite appropriate.

The whole thing does raise the issue of whether we make this potential passivity of an instance of E7 action more clear in the scope note.

As to Rob’s seconding of my proposal for ‘validity time’ relations on E30:

>>  I agree with George that a new property to assert that the [notion of the] Right applies over a particular timespan would be the easiest solution.

Thanks for the seconding. It is true as Steve remarks that we should have use cases or there is no point to model it, but I think there are such use cases and that it would be worth discussing at a SIG. I think the semantics would be different that the 'E7 used object' modelling, since something can be  in force and not used (see Greek anti smoking law). This seems to turn toward the questions that were being raised in the last SIG about modelling ‘planned activities’ in relation to E29 Design or Procedures, I believe and could be raised in relation to this?

Finally, with regards to the implementation issue and the .1s in RDF, do you or have you tried to use the CRMpc solution?

Sorry for the length and hope it was a useful contribution to the conversation.

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 21/8/2017

Thanks for the clarifications George!

In my view, that’s (b) – the concept of a legal privilege which continues to exist far longer than it is enforced by any legal construct that enacts that right.

For example, the concept of owning slaves in the USA certainly existed before it was law, and there are hundreds of millions of people who carry that concept in their memory, reinforced daily by society. The concept of that legal slavery exists today, but the legal construct that enables slavery does not.  It would be very strange to assert “The legal right of owning a person as a slave exists in the USA today”… whereas it is very much true that the concept of the law exists.

The time frame for the existence of the concept is necessarily open-ended (if there is a CRM description, there is a carrier), and the beginning is also pretty much impossible to know with any certainty.  Did they conceive of slavery in North America before there was a USA for it to apply in? Probably?  The creator of the concept is also different from the creator of the legal construct. It’s a matter of public record as to the activity that made the concept a legal right, and also the activity that ended the existence of that legal right.  The location of the creation of the concept and the location of the creation of the right are also different.

Or, to use a much easier example … the concept of the ownership of a painting continues to exist after the legal ownership that it is the concept of has ended.  The museum director might be the creator of that concept, but her legal team might be the creator of the legal ownership.

For “specifically real legal privileges” … what about proposed rights that never come into effect?  There is memory and carrier of the concept, but no legally binding construct. History is, of course, littered with proposed bills that never become law. 

And for use cases, we have tons of them  especially in the Provenance Index and related provenance research. Here’s a few obvious (hopefully) ones:

* The duration of the legal right of ownership of an object by an organization
* Partial gifts:  where the organization owns a share in the object, and the donor owns the rest
* Ad-hoc art dealer shared ownership:  Where two or more dealers purchase an object, and divide the proceeds when it is sold according to the original amounts paid
* Discover all of the known ownership rights of paintings in effect in 1856 (as opposed to having been conceived before 1856)
* Discover all of the agreements put in place by a particular team or agent (as opposed to having been conceived by someone)

To avoid creating a new “Legal Right” class versus the current “Concept of a Legal Right” class, I still feel that the easiest solution is to add a timespan during which the right was in effect to the current class. We can do that in an extension, but it would be nice to exhaust all possible avenues in the core ontology before doing that.

I’ll split the passive activity to a different thread, but thank you (again) for bringing it up as we have run into that as well in this context of ownership.

Posted by Christian Emil on 21/8/2017

Short question:
Rights are often given according to some codified law which is operationally defined and perhaps more comparable to a plan while the concepts in the philosophy of law is whats behind?

Posted by  João Oliveira Lima  on 22/8/2017

Dear Christian-Emil and Robert,

Perhaps the Institutional Theory of Law has ideas to come up with an answer to your question and to the question that started this thread.

Influenced by the Philosophy of Language, by J. Searle and J. Austin, the legal neo-institutionalism brought new light to the concept of "legal institution". According to Neil MacComick, "a 'institution of law'  is a legal concept which are regulated by sets of institutive, consequential and terminative rules" ("Enn Normative Description" isA "E29 Design of Procedure") "with the effect that instances of them are properly said to exist over a period of time, from the occurrence of an institutive act or event until the occurrence of a terminative act or event" (so, "Enn Legal Institution" is a "E4 Period").

The term "right" has a semantic overload. It is necessary to differentiate "right-claim/duty" as an atomic relation between two people (in the hohfeldian sense) as well as "right" as an instance of a legal institution (ex: property right). Property right consists of a bunch of atomic rights (claims, power, immunity, privileges).

Posted by Christian Emil on 22/8/2017

Dear all,

Sorry for the somewhat confused and unclear email. I have reread the emails. In his email from Monday 21 August 2017 14:30, George explains what I meant – I think. The intention of introducing right in CRM was to be able to express information about IPRs and ownership found in museum databases. It is, however, a difficult topic.

The example phrase “copyright held by ISO on ISO/CD 21127” in the definition of E30 right has different implications for the possibility to use of the text in different countries depending on the local legislation.  In international business contracts it is usually stated which legislation should be used in court if disagreement occurs. 

In the emails the term ‘ownership’ is frequently referred to.  What is meant by ‘ownership’ (that is, which privileges it gives the owner) will also vary depending on the culture/legislation.

As it has been mentioned “right” is an overloaded word. The scope note defines it as ‘legal privilege’.  A law is not a legal privilege.  One may obtain a legal privilege as a result of applying/referring to a law.

OED definition 2.a for privilege:

“A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by an individual, corporation of individuals, etc., beyond the usual rights or advantages of others; spec.  (a) an exemption from a normal duty, liability, etc.;  (b) enjoyment of some benefit (as wealth, education, standard of living, etc.) above the average or that deemed usual or necessary for a particular group (in pl. sometimes contrasted with rights).”


Thus the scope note is ok. But an instance of E30 Right is not a law. Is a privilege a propositional object and/or is it created as a consequence of a propositional object? A person can obtain a privilege at some time and may lose it later.  The privilege as such is independent of the number of persons it is granted to. Under this interpretation a privilege can be modelled as a sub class of conceptual object as it is in the current CRM.  Identity criteria may be difficult to find. Even though the name is the same, ownership is not neccessarily the same in different cultures.

E30 Right

Subclass of:        E89 Propositional Object

Scope Note:      This class comprises legal privileges concerning material and immaterial things or their derivatives.

These include reproduction and property rights.


§  copyright held by ISO on ISO/CD 21127

§  ownership of the “Mona Lisa” by the Louvre

Posted by martin on 22/8/2017

Dear All,

May be there is methodological confusion behind this, which I hope to be able to clarify.
Please correct me, if I have mistaken the point:

Robert writes: "(a) A Right _is...or "(b) A Right _is....", and finally: It cannot be both. Which is it?

Answer: Of course it can be both, and much more. A word has many senses. See, e.g.,

It must be clear that the CRM does not define the meaning of a label of a concept.
A statement of the kind "A Right is" is not in the scope of the CRM.

The CRM aims at picking out individual senses sufficiently well defined and useful for the discourse,
regardless whether other senses may be useful as well, and may appear at some time on the agenda to be added to the CRM or an extension. In particular, the CRM may identify senses that have no correspondent in a particular or any language at all. E.g., "Persistent Item" is a "coined term", as the AAT principles recommend to call the invention of a term for purpose of generalization. Nevertheless, it corresponds quite well to the German philosophical term "Seiendes".

So, "E30 Right" is something, which can be interpreted as one sense, or close to the senses, of "right".
It is in the first place a "E30". "E30" is the formulation of the right, the "terms". That was the use case we encountered in collection management systems we had analyzed, and that was sufficient for the initial scope of the CRM.

The phase of "being in force" is another sense, which may be called "E101 Right", but better with a more distinct label of course, such as "Right Validity" or so.

The CRM SIG may decide to rename any label which causes confusion, so may be "E30 Right" should be called "E30 Right Terms" (seriously), and the scope note needs improvement definitely.

Was this helpful?

Posted by martin on 23/8/2017

Dear Joao,

I think this is highly relevant. Could you point to some sources? I'd like to put all that legal stuff into a CRM extension, may be social history is the right framework? To be discussed in the next meeting.

Posted by Christian Emil on 23/8/2017

I support Martin. A issue is the existing ownership classes and properties.
They are definitely a part of legal stuff.
We need also somebody with high competence law informatics.ý

Posted by Robert on 25/08/2017

Thank you as well Joao! I agree this is precisely what we’re looking for.

We would be very happy with a way to describe (as I understand it) the instances of legal institutions, which are brought into effect and taken out of effect by activities.   If this is what E30 is supposed to be, then the alignment would become even easier – simply add Pxx_brought_into_effect and Pyy_took_out_of_effect to either Activity directly, or a new subclass of it.  That then does not get in the way of Beginning and End of existence events.

Posted by Robert on 25/8/2017

Completely agreed, Christian-Emil!

This ties into another thread from earlier this year about Payments – the transfer of a MonetaryAmount between Actors.
It would be great to have a consistent model that covered all of the transfer of X activities!

Posted by  João Oliveira Lima  on 25/8/2017

Dear Martin, Christian-Emil and Robert,

The beginning of legal neo-institutionalism was marked by the book "An Institutional Theory of Law: New Approaches to Legal Positivism" (1986) by Neil MacCormick (1941-2009) and Ota Weinberger (1919-2009). The main representative of the classical institutionalism was Santi Romano (1875-1947) and, currently, Dick Ruiter (Austria) and Massimo La Torre (Italy) have developed neo-institutionalism, among others.

John Searle's Theory of Speech Acts (1969) influenced several areas of knowledge (Law, Economics, Political Science, etc.). John Searle's subsequent works, published in “The Construction of Social Reality” (1995) and “Making the Social World” (2009), are very interesting for understanding the social ontology in which we live.

John Searle classifies rules as regulative and constitutive. In the Law, the regulative rules correspond to the norms of conduct that define how the agents must behave within a legal relation. Constitutive rules correspond to the norms of competence, which deal with the hypothetical capacity of agents to change their legal positions by establishing new institutions facts (instances of legal institutions). For example, the activity "signing a contract" (E7 Activity) creates a new contract and, according to it, the norms of conduct are assigned to the parties involved.

The definition of legal institutions varies in time, by the modification and increase of legal norms, and between jurisdictions: the institution "property" has different conformations according to the jurisdiction.

Currently I am doing a doctorate in Law at the University of Brasilia (Brazil) where I research about the consolidation of legal norms (process of simplification of the legal system by systematization of current legal norms). In this work, I felt the need to detail the components of an legal institution. I found the answer in Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld's (1879-1818) paper: "Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning."

Hohfeld offers a taxonomy of norms of conduct (rigth / claim <> duty, privilege <> no-right) and norms of competence (competence <> liability, immunity <> disability) that represents legal relationships at their atomic level. These concepts are ideologically neutral, that is, they can be identified in any legal system at any time. Hohfeld offers them as the lowest common denominators of Law: "Ten fractions (1/3, 2/5, etc.) may, superficially, seem so different from one another as to defy comparison. If, however, they are expressed in terms of their lowest common denominators (5/15, 6/15, etc.), comparison becomes easy, and fundamental similarity may be discovered".

Here are some sources on the topics covered here:

*** Institutional Theory of Law

MACCORMICK NEIL; WEINBERGER,O. (Ed.). An Institutional Theory of Law: new approaches to legal positivism. Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media, 1986.

ROMANO, S. L’Ordinamento Giuridico. 1917.

RUITER, D. W. Institutional legal facts: legal powers and their effects. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993. v. 18.

RUITER, D. W. Legal institutions. Dordrecht: Springer, 2001.

TORRE, M. L. Institutional theories and institutions of law: On neil maccormicks savoury blend of legal institutionalism. Law as institutional normative order, p. 67–82, 2009.

*** Speech Acts / General Theory of Institutional Facts

SEARLE, J. R. Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969. v. 626.

SEARLE, J. R. Expression and meaning: Studies in the theory of speech acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

SEARLE, J. R. The construction of social reality. New York: Free Press, 1995.

SEARLE, J. R. Mind, language and society: Philosophy in the real world. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

SEARLE, J. R. What is an institution. Journal of institutional economics, Cambridge Univ Press, v. 1, n. 1, p. 1–22, 2005.

SEARLE, J. R. Making the social world: The structure of human civilization. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

SEARLE, J. R. Are there social objects? In: Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition. Dordrecht: Springer, 2014. p. 17–26.

*** Hohfeld Framework

BARKER, K. Analytical philosophy and private law: The modern value of wesley newcomb hohfeld. In: A Discourse on the Legal Method: Historical and Philosophical Influences on Legal Thinking’. Moscow: [s.n.], 2016.

D’ALMEIDA, L. D. Fundamental legal concepts: The hohfeldian framework. Philosophy Compass, Wiley Online Library, v. 11, n. 10, p. 554–569, 2016.

HAGE, J. C. Powers and Competences. 2015.

HOHFELD, W. N. Some fundamental legal conceptions as applied in judicial reasoning. The Yale Law Journal, v. 23, n. 1, p. 16–59, 1913.

HOHFELD, W. N. Fundamental legal conceptions as applied in judicial reasoning. The Yale Law Journal, v. 26, n. 8, p. 710–770, 1917.

TUCAK, I. Usability of hohfeld’s analysis of fundamental legal concepts while teaching continental law. In: Current Problems in Legal Theory and in Comparative Law. [S.l.]: Law Faculty Babes-Bolyai University, 2012.


Posted by Christian Emil on 25/8/2017

Dear Joao Lima​,

Thank you for this, I will definitely have enough to read for a while. Searle I know, but the others are new.

Posted by Simon Spero on 25/8/2017

Parts I and II of Hohfeld's articles are collected below (the 2nd (1920) edition is digitized). Since he continued to be dead for all editions, this is not a major issue.

Hohfeld, W. N. (1920). Fundamental legal conceptions as applied in judicial reasoning: and other legal essays. Yale University Press. Available at

This field is, to quote Brown, "esoteric literature", but Hohfeld is usually a recommended entry point.

There are  some owlifications, but they haven't seen much application.

There are arguments  against Legal Positivism in the broad sense, but those seem like they can be avoided  in the CRM context.

The primary concepts needed for CRM would seem to be those from the areas of Personal Property, together with a small subset of those involved in contracts, that correspond to the "Facts" that would be input to a Positivist's "Law".

It is important to be able distinguish between e.g. the loan of a painting for a definite or indefinite period; the gift of a painting; the transfer of a painting for restoration; or the purchase of a painting for value.
It may or may not be important to know when a painting has been on exhibit, and how that exhibit was publicized.

Provenance is important, but that kind of applies to other parts of the CRM :)

Posted by Robert on 1/9/2017

Thanks for the clarification, Martin.

I think it was clear, but to be certain, I was meaning An E30 Right is this … An E30 Right is that.  Clearly language outside of CRM definitions can mean multiple things, but an ontology is worthless if it is ambiguous as we could just use natural language to the same effect.

> "E30" is the formulation of the right, the "terms".

Okay, so to try and be tease apart the scope of E30 from the hypothetical E101…

An E30 Right is the conceptual formulation of a particular set of legal privileges that apply to a particular thing as could be possessed by a particular actor.  The idea that Rob can own the Mona Lisa, with a Creation carried out by me, just now, and which never has legal effect.

That E30 might then have a relationship to the E101 (subclass of Period?) that records when the conceptual right has any legal validity? Is there any reason to actually have E101, or couldn’t it just be E4 Period?


In the 43rd joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 36th FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, the crm-sig decided to merge the discussions took place in the issues issues 172330343335 in the CRMsoc forming  a new issue (421). 

Heraklion, March 2019