The Real Law of Virtual Reality

14 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2017

See all articles by Mark A. Lemley

Mark A. Lemley

Stanford Law School

Eugene Volokh

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: October 9, 2017


This is an edited version of a talk one of us (Lemley) gave at the UC Davis symposium on the future of law. We explore legal issues that will arise in virtual reality and augmented reality, particularly those stemming from the fact that VR is a visceral experience that blurs the line between information and the physical. The fact that people experience VR as real even when they know it isn't has implications for tort and criminal law. The ability to design and change the terms of people's interaction in virtual reality has significant implications for the role of law vs. self-help. In VR, code IS law in a very real sense.

Suggested Citation

Lemley, Mark A. and Volokh, Eugene, The Real Law of Virtual Reality (October 9, 2017). Stanford Public Law Working Paper. Available at SSRN: or

Mark A. Lemley (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Eugene Volokh

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-206-3926 (Phone)
310-206-6489 (Fax)

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