May the 4th: Space Law Resources on Westlaw Edge
In honor of May the 4th – inspired by a pun of the iconic Star Wars phrase, “May the force be with you” – Legal Current is exploring space law and how lawyers and lawmakers can keep pace with space explorers and entrepreneurs.
Space law isn’t a topic for science fiction fans; it’s big business, as Reuters noted last week: “The space race between the world’s two richest men went into hyperdrive on Tuesday after Tesla chief Elon Musk took a swipe at Jeff Bezos’ attempt to challenge a major NASA contract.”
Beyond the space race, spaceflight history is being made with missions to the International Space Station and international competition continues in the commercial space industry. All of this means lawyers and lawmakers are considering issues ranging from space mining and property rights to liability for commercial space flight, satellite technology patents, and more. There are countless considerations around the laws, governance and economic impact of the commercial space industry.
Westlaw Edge offers numerous space law resources with coverage of international agreements, U.S. laws, cases, journal articles and treatises. A standout is Space Law (Westlaw subscription required) by Paul Dempsey, a comprehensive space law treatise that lists all multinational treaties and agreements in chronological order, including, most recently, The Artemis Accords: Principles for Cooperation in the Civil Exploration and Use of the Moon, Mars, Comets, and Asteroids for Peaceful Purposes, from 2020.
There’s also extensive secondary content available on Westlaw Edge. Topical journal sources include Air & Space Lawyer, Journal of Air Law Commerce, ABA SciTech Lawyer and Air Force Law Review. Westlaw Edge can also help users stay current on state and federal legislative proposals around space commerce, and enables users to search dockets to, for example, track litigation developments involving aerospace companies such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin.
Finally, our May the 4th tribute wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the granted patent for a Disney lightsaber toy: SWORD DEVICE WITH RETRACTABLE, INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED BLADE. For those moments when Jedi mind tricks aren’t enough.