Legal Internalism in Modern Histories of Copyright
72 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 4, 2020
Legal internal-ism refers to the internal point of view that professional participants in a legal practice develop towards it. It represents a behavioral phenomenon wherein such participants treat the domain of law (or a subset of it) as normative, epistemologically self-contained, and logically coherent on its own terms regardless of whether the law actually embodies those characteristics. Thus understood, legal internal-ism remains an important characteristic of all modern legal systems. In this Review Essay, we examine three recent interdisciplinary histories of copyright law to showcase the working of legal internal-ism. We argue that while their interdisciplinary emphasis adds to the conversation about copyright, it also overlooks the centrality of legal internal-ism in the evolution of copyright, a domain that has always been understood as a creation of the law. The Essay unpacks the core tenets of legal internal-ism, examines how it operates as an important variable of legal change, contrasts it with the idea of legal consciousness, and shows how legal internal-ism directs and regulates the entry of non-legal considerations into different areas of law.
Keywords: internal-ism, copyright, history, legal consciousness, behavioral, normativity
JEL Classification: K10, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation