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Showing posts from April, 2015

Texas Legislature to Consider Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act

Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence favorably reported on HB 1799, a bill that would make the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) law in Texas. The purpose of the proposed law is to ensure that official electronic legal materials, such as the Texas Constitution, statutes, and state agency rules, are authenticated, preserved, and accessible by citizens online. The bill is authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, of District 141 in Houston. Now that the bill has been favorably reported out of committee by unanimous vote, it will be placed on the calendar for debate and vote in the Texas House of Representatives.
Already law in twelve states, UELMA provides a technology-neutral, outcomes-based approach to ensuring that online state legal material deemed official will be preserved and will be permanently available to the public in unaltered form. While readers may be aware that the text of the Texas Constitution, Texas statu…

New Fair Use Index from the U.S. Copyright Office

Yesterday, the U.S. Copyright Office announced the launch of its new Fair Use Index. Designed to provide the public with searchable summaries of major fair use decisions, the index can be searched by jurisdiction or subject matter. For example, searching the database for 5th Circuit decisions regarding fair use in satire or parody returns the result of Dall. Cowboys Cheerleaders, Inc. v. Scoreboard Posters, Inc., 600 F.2d 1184 (5th Cir. 1979). The index does not link to the full text of the cases, rather a case brief that explains the basic facts, issue, holding, and outcome.
Though the database would be more helpful to practitioners if it linked to the full-text of the cases, it is easy to use and provides information to the public that is easy to understand. Anyone who is interested in learn the basics of how the fair use exception operates in copyright law will find it worth a look.

Dckt App Makes PACER Searching Easier

Mathew Zorn designed the Dckt app for the purpose of making searching PACER documents on a mobile device much easier. Those who have used PACER are all too familiar with the difficulty of locating federal court dockets and filings on mobile devices. The app covers this website with an interface that is more user friendly, thus making it easier to locate documents from the Bankruptcy, District, and Appellate courts. In particular, this app features the ability to bookmark documents so that the user can avoid multiple charges for the court filings already retrieved, passwords can be saved, and it is more manageable to enter the case numbers. Documents can also be saved, printed, and e-mailed easily. A review by Jeff Richardson, available from iPhone JD, effectively explains the features of this app, which is only available at this time for the iPad and iPhone. Hopefully, a similar app will be created for Android devices soon.

The Tax Deadline is Almost Here!

The tax deadline of April 15, is just two days away and for those who have procrastinated, the forms and publications are available on the IRS's website. The following is list of the most pertinent forms and publications as well as articles and resources that provide tax advice.

Forms:
 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (Form 1040) (Instructions for 1040) U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (shorter version) 1040A (Instructions for 1040A)Income Tax Returns for Single and Joint Filers with No Dependents  (1040EZ) (Instructions for 1040EZ)Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return (Form 4868) Publications:
Rules for filing an income tax return (Publication 17)Earned Income Credit (Publication 596)Child Tax Credit (Publication 972)Health Care Law: What's New for Individuals and Families (Publication 5187) Offer in Compromise (settle tax debts) (Form 656 Booklet)IRS Resources:
Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax Provisions Extension of Time to File Your Tax Re…

Income Data by State and County on TRAC

April 15 is just one week away. Have you filed your tax return yet? The IRS estimates that over 247 million federal income tax returns will be filed this year. That means that in addition to collecting revenue, the IRS also collects massive amounts of economic data.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a research organization at Syracuse University, uses IRS data to compile rankings of various types of income by state and county. The results are often surprising. For example, it may surprise you to learn that in 2013, Wyoming had a higher average dividend income than any other state. In Wyoming’s Teton County, the average dividend income was $32,793, nearly twenty times higher than the national average. (Teton County, with a population of just over ten thousand, is home to Harrison Ford, Dick Cheney, and Walmart heiress Christy Walton, the richest woman in the world.) The state with the highest average adjusted gross income (AGI) was Connecticut, at $91,417. That’s …

The ‘People’s Law School’ Back at UHLC

The People’s Law School will be returning to the University of Houston Law Center tomorrow.The People’s Law School is a biannual program in which volunteer lawyers, judges, and law professors teach registered attendees courses on specialized legal topics designed for members of the general public.The O’Quinn Law Library will also be participating in tomorrow’s activities: law librarians will be teaching the class Finding the Law, an introduction to legal research.

See the official announcement for the People’s Law School here.

the 4th annual O'Quinn Law Library Free CLE Workshop

I am glad to announce that this year's Law Library free CLE workshop is now opened for registration. 

To help recently graduated alumni to meet the needs of a demanding legal environment, the University of Houston O'Quinn Law Library will hold a free workshop on April 25, offering special training in legal research and the application of the latest information technology: two hours of intensive training in advanced Texas legal research and free or low cost online resources for lawyers, and one hour on special mobile device applications for attorneys.

First created in 2012, this year's workshop marks the 4th round with updated contents.  For detailed information and registration please click here.  Librarians and non-UH people are equally welcome.