"Art is a conversation between and among artists, not a patent office. Reality can't be copyrighted," writes David Shields in his spirited defense of artistic appropriation. "In digital culture, it's especially important for us to be able to sample, remix, mash-up materials available to us at the click of a button, but the law has a stranglehold on literature, perhaps because both literature and the law are verbal. The mimetic function has been replaced by manipulation of the original," says Shields. His book is Reality Hunger: A Manifesto.