Berkeley Law School Professor Dies at 73
By Stephanie Baer October 19, 2009 | 2:09 pm
Posted in: Obituary, University
Stephen Barnett, professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, died, at age 73, of complications resulting from cardiac arrest on Oct. 13.
Barnett was an expert on intellectual property law, the news media, the legal institutions of California—principally the California Supreme Court—and First Amendment issues.
Berkeley Law Associate Dean and professor Stephen Sugarman said Barnett was probably California’s leading analyst and critic of the state’s supreme court.
Barnett started teaching classes in copyright and trademarks, torts and California legal institutions at Boalt Hall in 1967 .
From 1977 to 1979, Barnett took a leave of absence to serve in the U.S. Justice Department as a deputy solicitor general, briefing and arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He then returned to the Berkeley Law and was awarded the Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Chair in 1990.
“Steve became the leading critical commentator on the problems generated by federal legislation allowing the newspaper industry to enter into production and revenue-sharing agreements under the umbrella of antitrust immunity,” said Berkeley Law professor Richard Buxbaum. “In legislative hearings, participation in litigation, and innumerable op-ed pieces, he kept this problematic exception under constant public scrutiny.”
Buxbaum added that Barnett also maintained a leading role in shaping public policy concerning the structure and regulation of media.
“He was an important participant in the academic studies that influenced new European regulations of these sectors in the 1980s,” Buxbaum said.
In 1988, Barnett co-authored the book Law of International Telecommunications, which gave the first comparative evaluations of national data on the subject and analyzed the role of international organizations in facilitating such communications.
Barnett continued his scholarly writing in 2000 as a contributing commentary writer to California Lawyer magazine, and served as nonresident dean of the law department at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan, Armenia. He retired from Berkeley Law in 2003.
Barnett is survived by his wife, Karine, their son, Alexander and his stepson, Levon. He also leaves behind his sister, Linda Beizer and three nephews.