During the heady days of the California Gold Rush of 1849, prospectors would hurry to their preferred site. They hoped to be the first to discover the valuable ore there and then stake their claim, thereby giving them preemptive rights over all other prospectors to that particular spot of land. This practice wasn’t limited to miners. The Homestead Act of 1862 (and the other Homestead Acts that followed) allowed any adult who was the first to settle a piece of property to lay claim to it. You even see elements of this “first come, first serve” philosophy in traditional U.S. Patent Law. Here, the first to claim an invention retains all patent rights on it.
These three examples have one thing in common: a wide open territory. Whether it be undeveloped land for miners and settlers, or the vast unexplored realm of ideas, there’s a bit of terra incognita associated with the idea of being the “first to claim.” The other commonality they all possess is they aren’t new. They come from an era when America was a frontier waiting to be discovered. With the passing of centuries, this “Wild West” spirit has since dissolved into the annals of history.
Yet, there remain new worlds to discover, new territory to explore, new stakes to claim. Remember when the internet exploded in popularity in the 1990s? Prospectors in that era Continue Reading “How to Prevent Real Identity Theft: Claim Your Name”