Reed Smith has a long history working in the audiovisual world dating back to the 1930s working with some of the pioneers in film and subsequently, television. Our lawyers have had to keep pace with – and indeed to anticipate – the legal challenges associated with every technical development that the audiovisual industries have experienced over that span of time. This White Paper sets out some of the legal and commercial issues those involved in augmented and virtual reality should consider.
In August 2015, Time Magazine declared that Virtual Realty (“VR”) was about to change the world. A year earlier, Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2.3 billion signalling the impact of what Oculus founder Palmer Luckey referred to as “The Final Platform,” an immersive technology that replaced the user’s vision with a computer augmented virtual vision with the potential to create a new collaborative social experience.Competing platforms raced to bring VR headsets to consumers as companies and brands developed ways to use VR and Augmented Reality (“AR”) technology to engage its customers. A year later, projections estimated that the number of augmented and virtual reality devices sold will rise from 2.5 million in 2015 to 24 million in 2018, and there are expected to be as many as 171 million active VR users by 2018. It is undeniable that the fourth and perhaps final technological platform wave has come quickly upon us.