Is It Public Domain?

Berkeley Law just released a handbook on determining the copyright status of works created between 1923 and 1978:

Is It In the Public Domain? A Handbook for Evaluating the Copyright Status of a Work Created in the United States Between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1977

It’s a really great resource, though I can’t pretend not to be a bit saddened by the need for such a handbook at all. We’re basically living in a period of eternal copyright and it’s ludicrous to think that a significant chunk of our 20th century art and culture might never enter the public domain (if companies like Disney and Sony have anything to say about it). 

Redefining Mental Illness

This is a radically different vision of severe mental illness from the one held by most Americans, and indeed many American psychiatrists. …. Moreover, the perspective is surprisingly consonant — in some ways — with the new approach by our own National Institute of Mental Health, which funds much of the research on mental illness in this country. For decades, American psychiatric science took…

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Hey, let's have fun, okay? Because soon I won't be able to.

This just in from Berkeley – the class schedule for my inaugural semester as a law school student!

  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Law
  • Torts
  • Legal Research & Writing

It’s getting real, people. 

New Post has been published on

California Fracking Activity Set to Mushroom

Friday, Berkeley Law released a new report on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in California, focusing on wastewater and potential water quality impacts. The report, “Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing in California: A Wastewater and Water Quality Perspective,” is an independent analysis produced by Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) through its new initiative, the Wheeler Institute for Water Law & Policy (Wheeler Institute).

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of injecting fluids under high pressure to crack underground rocks and release tightly held oil or gas. The hydraulic fracturing process also yields byproducts, including wastewater, which must be properly managed in order to reduce any risk to human health and the environment.

Co-authored with Wheeler Institute associate director Michael Kiparsky, the report notes that while oil and gas producers have used fracking in California for many years, we are witnessing potentially alarming projections of dramatically increased fracking activity in California due to the availability of new fracturing techniques.

The report comes out at a time of intense activity and interest in California in fracking. On April 8, a federal judge issued the first major ruling in a California fracking lawsuit, finding that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to adequately consider the risks presented by fracking in its issuance of oil and gas leases on federal lands. And the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) is currently undergoing a pre-rulemaking process with stakeholders, gathering information that will influence new and revised regulations. Nine bills on fracking have been introduced in California’s current legislative session, several lawsuits have been filed, and there is surging public attention on to the issue.

Contrary to its traditional role as a leader in environmental protection, California lags behind other states on hydraulic fracturing regulation. Wyoming, Colorado, and other states currently set stronger standards for transparency, safety, and environmental stewardship.

The risks presented by hydraulic fracturing include potential contamination of ground and surface waters from well casing failure, improper fluid handling at the well site, and improper treatment and discharge of fracking “produced water” that contains harmful substances. Additional risks include the potential for induced seismicity from injection wells, as experienced in other states, and potential air quality and climate change impacts, which are especially relevant to the development of oil-rich shale formations in California.

While some peer-reviewed studies on risks to the environment and human health from fracking exist, there is a need for additional research. In the face of such scientific uncertainty, our own report urges caution, greater transparency, and increased accountability for oil and gas operators.

First, to enable public participation and drive greater accountability, regulatory agencies and the public require comprehensive information on where, when, and how fracking will occur in the State. While the applicability of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental review and public participation process is litigated in court, we support near-term changes to the current regulations, including:

  • At least 30 days advanced public notice of all fracking events, included the full list of chemicals to be used in fracking fluid;
  • Mailed notice to all property owners near planned fracking or injection sites;
  • Baseline testing of water quality in aquifers near oil and gas production activity, to enable tracing potential contamination to operators and assess pre-fracking water quality; and
  • Development of a formal process by which concerned citizens can respond to planned fracking events.

Second, we urge better inter-agency coordination and planning to prepare for and mitigate the harmful effects of fracking. We recommend:

  • Increased engagement among DOGGR, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), all of which have jurisdiction over some aspects of unconventional oil and gas development in the State; and
  • More peer-reviewed studies on the risks presented to California water sources from fracking, the risk of induced seismic events, and potential air quality and climate change impacts.

Third, we recommend better tracking and handling of fracking wastewater to protect against potential water impacts, including:

  • Requiring more extensive recordkeeping and reporting on the disposal of fracking wastewater;
  • Considering the use of unique chemical tracers placed into fracking fluid to aid in identifying potential contamination events and assessing liability;
  • Providing clear information on how fracking produced water may be safely reused or recycled to reduce pressure on California’s water supply;

  • Prohibiting the discharge of fracking wastewater to publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs), at least until EPA issues pretreatment guidelines; and
  • Requiring more stringent regulation and enforcement of fluid storage and handling at well sites.

Historically, California has set the bar for environmental protection and stewardship. With mounting public attention to the issue,we urge the State to take a proactive stance to protect our environment in the face of uncertainty.

Jayni Foley Hein
The Berkeley Blog

Saturday, 13 February 2013

Researchers Examine Emerging Market for Used Electric Vehicle Batteries

Researchers Examine Emerging Market for Used Electric Vehicle Batteries

A new report from UCLA and UC Berkeley shows that used electric car batteries could help California achieve its renewable energy, greenhouse gas reduction and energy storage goals more efficiently — and could lower the cost of owning an electric car.

As California searches for cheap energy storage options, a new report by the Climate Change and Business Research Initiative at the UCLA and UC…

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A summer course for foreign lawyers interested in US environmental law

A summer course for foreign lawyers interested in US environmental law

By Eric Biber This summer Berkeley Law is providing an exciting opportunity for lawyers around the world who are interested in learning more about US environmental law. Our seventeen-day course in late June and early July provides a thorough grounding in all the major issues in US environmental law (ranging from air pollution to natural resources, water rights to environmental justice). The…

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Number of Young African American Women in Prison Rises
A recent conference attempts to get to the root of the mass incarceration of black girls.

Here’s a lesser-known red flag in the black community: the fastest growing incarcerated population in the country is African American girls and young women. What does not seem to be rising however, is the number of black girls who are actually committing crimes.

Not only is this baffling, it’s a hard-hitting problem as efforts to stop the mass incarceration of black girls are practically nonexistent. According to Barry Krisberg, Research and Policy Director at UC Berkeley’s Earl Warren Institute on Law, African American girls face brutality, emotional and sexual abuse once they are in the prison system.

Recently, the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Law School moved to address the issue by hosting a free day-and-a-half conference, called “African American Girls and Young Women and Juvenile Justice System: A Call To Action.” The conference brought together academics and activist from across ages, race and class groups. Many of whom were formerly incarcerated.

Nikki Jones, a sociologist from UC Santa Barbara and Meda Chesney Lind, University of Hawaii, and attendee of the conference, has studied the statistics of imprisoned black girls for over 10 years and explained, “we have never seen these kind of numbers before,” reports EthnoBlog.

Source and rest: madamenoire.

3 Mindful Steps to Survive the Bar Exam

Finally, law students can take a breath. I am literally telling you to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. When we consciously breathe, we connect to this present moment. This is mindfulness, and lawyers are no longer immune to the movement. I am not asking you to leave law school and join Don Draper at a meditation retreat center in California. I am inviting you to manage your stress and cope with test anxiety using mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques. The University of Miami and The University of California, Berkeley, are examples of law schools who incorporate mindfulness classes into the curriculum.

John Yoo: Next President Can Easily Cancel Iran Deal

The Iranian nuclear deal contains the seeds of its own undoing by the next occupant of the White House, according to law school professor and former U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo. The University of California Berkeley School of Law professor, in a Monday…

from Newsmax - Newsfront