Problem number two: key examples of commons are not at all commons.
Let's start with the relatively mundane, the city street.
Anyone who lives in places like Manhattan or San Francisco knows that the simultaneous access of the street and sidewalk to pedestrians, cyclists, and cars is the stuff of extreme tension, highly charged emotions, and in more than a few cases, near-death experiences. We have claims that cars don't care whether they hit cyclists. That cyclists think that traffic laws don't apply to them. That cyclists think that the sidewalk belongs to them and pedestrians should just get out of the way. Newspaper articles are written. Studies are commissioned. City meetings erupt in shouting matches.
Add to that the battle over sidewalk rights between restaurants that would like to offer outdoor seating and pedestrians and cyclists who would like to have access to the entire sidewalk.
Then we have the tourists vs residents struggle in popular vacation destinations with densely packed streets and buildings. This is an issue more common in Europe than the US, but also erupts in the city centers of New York, Boston, San Francisco, and elsewhere.
Congestion charges. Bus lanes. Alternating access based on even-or-odd initial digit of vehicle license plate number. Closing sections of cities entirely to vehicular traffic.
City streets and sidewalks were nominally common thoroughfares. Actions by companies and individuals resulted in de facto claims over portions of these nominal commons. Governments have, and continue, to impose de jure restrictions on these areas in response.
But these issues are rather small compared to canals, waterways, and major shipping lanes.
There are several choke points in international shipping lanes that prove that these anything but commons.
Many of these choke points were historically controlled by the British Empire, which obtained them through military action. The British Empire took Gibraltar from Spain to control access between the western Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, the British seized various islands such as Rhodes, Crete, and Cyprus at various times. In the center, Malta. There was no doubt that Britain would use this network to control the Mediterranean at the expense of Spain, Russia, France, the Ottoman Empire, various Italian states. They also conquered Egypt in 1882 to gain control of the Suez Canal. At the other end of the Red Sea was the British colony of Aden. Control of the Persian Gulf was obtained by making today's Oman and UAE colonies.
The Cape Colony was taken from the Netherlands. Zanzibar, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Falkland Islands, Bahamas, Barbados, Orkney. The British Empire made sure they controlled most of the world's major shipping channels. Like Gibraltar from Spain and Cape Colony from the Netherlands, other locations were taken from the Portuguese and French.
These were not commons. They were British toll booths, and they would be closed to anyone with whom they had a problem.
The British closed the Suez Canal to Russia during the Russo-Japanese war of 1905, forcing Russia to send its ships around Africa. The Suez was again closed in World War 1, closed to vessels of all nations not allied with Britain.
But the British also were making sure that they controlled the access to the world's oceans to their European rivals. The Germans had no doubt that they were at a severe military and economic disadvantage due to the ability of the British to trap German vessels by closing the north and south exits of the North Sea. Russia knew this as well.
At the same time, the British and other European powers used military force to ensure that certain waterways be declared international passages. The Turks were not, and are not, very pleased that the Bosporus and Sea of Marmara are international waterways rather than their own internal affairs. It was the decline of Danish and Swedish power that made the passage between the Baltic and North Seas open to international transport. In practical terms, this meant that the British had access to Germany and Russia (this was when the German Reich included the southern shores of the Baltic Sea and the Russian Empire controlled the east).
The UK, US, and France continue to control key islands in the world's oceans, providing them with exclusionary zones that are huge in comparison to the tiny islands that create these zones under international law. They also can serve as bases for military action if needed.
There was one key location that the British did not control: the Panama Canal. This seaway was also created by military action and controlled by military force. Panama was a province of Colombia, which was not proving cooperative enough to American wishes to create the canal. So the US engineered a war of secession of Panama from Colombia. US warships blockaded Colombia from sending troops into Panama (there was no road access and there remains no road access). The result was American control of the canal for nearly a century (many desired more) and Panama became a de facto colony of the United States.
After World War 2, the unwilling British and French colonial empires were collapsing and a newly empowered Egypt demanded control of the Suez Canal, ultimately nationalizing it. Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt, while the USSR threatened military action against the UK and France. The US opposed the war and cut off the oil supplies of the UK and France, and supported Egyptian nationalization, and negotiated reopening of the canal. US support for Egypt's authoritarian government has cost billions of dollars, and continues to cost billions of dollars.
Now with the melting of the arctic ice we have additional battles over access to seaways. Canada does not particularly want the maze of passes through its Arctic Archipelago to be declared an international seaway. There is much concern regarding the extent to which Russia will claim exclusionary authority over the Northeast Passage.
But overall, the point is that key locations of international waters have at best been a tollbooth open to all who can pay (passage through the Panama Canal averages $54,000). But that is a rather recent system. Generally, they have been key areas for military action and economic blockades.