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LSAT

Unit 1: Lesson 10

Reading Comprehension - Worked Examples

Purpose of reference | Law passage | Copyright

Watch a demonstration of one way to approach a "purpose of reference" question on the reading comprehension section of the LSAT. Created by Dave Travis.

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  • piceratops seedling style avatar for user Rosana Sanchez
    At , answer D is eliminated. Could someone please elaborate why it isn't the correct answer? Thank you!
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

- [Narrator] The author's primary purpose in mentioning the assumption that live broadcasts of sporting events are copyrightable is to, dot, dot, dot. Okay, this is a primary purpose question. Whenever you have a function of an element, a function of a paragraph, a function of a word, it can help to rephrase the question. I'm going to rephrase this question. What is the purpose? What is the function? Why does the author include this assumption that live broadcasts of sporting events are copyrightable? So what we can do is we can go back up to the passage. We can look at that. We can take this very focused question, What is the author doing with this element? Get an answer to that question in our heads, bring it back down to the choices, and cross out the ones that don't match. That's a much faster approach than looking at the choices before we know exactly what we're looking for. Because if we find ourselves going through the choices one by one, thinking that they all sound good, we're wasting time. It's much better to go and get your own answer before you look at the choices. So that's what we're going to do. What is the author doing with this element, with this assumption of sporting events? We're going to go back to lines 42 to 44. Let's have a look. Okay. The assumption. Standard assumption is here. Okay. We're going to read this whole sentence. In fact, let's review the entire paragraph. According to proponents of the tangible-object theory, its chief advantage is that it justifies intellectual property rights without recourse to the widely accepted but problematic supposition that one can own abstract, intangible things such as ideas. So the author thinks, you know, this is a problematic supposition that you can own ideas. Okay, let's keep on going. But, we have good contrast here. But while this account seems plausible for copyrightable entities that do, in fact, have enduring tangible forms, it cannot accommodate the standard assumption that such evanescent things as live broadcasts of sporting events can be copyrighted. Okay, so if it can't accommodate the standard assumption, this standard assumption presents a problem. Okay, so the standard assumption, this author is using this as a problem with the tangible-object theory. It's a problem with, it cannot accommodate this assumption. This account cannot accommodate that assumption. This account is really the tangible-object theory. So let's go down and find that. There's probably one choice that says the author is using this reference to represent one of the problematic issues with the tangible-object theory of intellectual property. Okay, so let's try to find that. What is the purpose? What is the author doing? Why did the author do it? To suggest that the tangible-object theory of intellectual property should not be rejected merely on the grounds that it seems to lead to certain kinds of counterintuitive results. Okay, so it's a counterintuitive result that is this assumption, but the author does want to reject the tangible-object theory. The author is finding trouble with the tangible-object theory. We're looking for a problem. The author is using that reference to represent an example that is problematic. That is not the answer. B, the author included that reference to assert the tangible-object theory of intellectual property can be creatively applied to apparently intangible things, such as live media broadcasts. No, the author doesn't think it works. It doesn't think that it can be applied in this way. It is problematic. C, to introduce a critique, okay, now it's starting to look good. A critique of the tangible-object theory of intellectual property by citing a type of case that in the author's view must be explained by any satisfactory theory of intellectual-property rights. So this starts making sense. The author is saying, look, any satisfactory theory needs to cover everything. The author doesn't think that it covers this case. So C is looking mighty good. Let's check out D and E. The author included that reference to cite certain exceptions to the tangible-object theory of intellectual property and suggest that they are rather marginal and do not substantially compromise the theory as a whole. No, I mean the author does cite this exception to the theory but the second half makes D wrong. And suggest that they are rather marginal and do not substantially compromise the theory as a whole. No, the author thinks that the theory as a whole has been compromised, has too many problems to be comprehensive. D is wrong. E, to furnish evidence to counter the claim that the notion of retained rights can be applied to television programming. No, again that doesn't fit with what we're looking for. We are looking for the fact that the author is using this example to introduce a critique of the theory, and says that, look this is a type of case that should be explained. Intangible-object theory doesn't explain it, doesn't cover it. That's exactly why the author has included that element, has included that example in the paragraph.