Comment   |   Volume 167, Issue 5

Copyright And Reality

By
167 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1269 (2019)

April 2019












Reality is a daunting concept. Most people have an intuitive understanding of the stuff of reality, but this gut feeling comfortably remains at the level of the subconscious.

The goal of this Comment is to bring the place of reality in copyright law out of the shadows. Because we are in the early stages of new reality technologies, this Comment’s approach is descriptive and evaluative rather than normative. It aims to reveal how reality has been understood in copyright law, organize these understandings into a coherent conceptual model, and then briefly critique that conceptual model in terms of its potential implications for new reality technologies. It does not seek to propose how reality should be defined, or how new reality technologies should be treated, as a proper analysis of these issues will depend heavily on the precise nature of the technologies. Currently, these technologies are simply too nascent and varied for discrete analysis — because the concept of reality is so heavily obscured within copyright case law, this Comment uses conceptual metaphors as its key archeological tool to expose reality’s content and analytical significance.

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