BU student’s song-swapping trial begins

A Boston University graduate student was "a kid who did what kids do" when he swapped songs through file-sharing networks like Kazaa, his lawyer said July 28 as his copyright-infringement trial began.

In only the second music-downloading case against an individual to go to trial, the major recording labels accuse Joel Tenenbaum, 25, of Providence, R.I., of downloading and distributing songs from such bands as Green Day and Aerosmith. The case centers on 30 shared songs, though the recording companies say he distributed many more than that.

Last month, a federal jury ruled a Minnesota woman must pay $1.92 million for copyright infringement in the first such case to go to trial.

The industry has typically offering to settle cases for about $5,000, though it has said it stopped filing such lawsuits last August and is instead working with schools and internet service providers to fight the worst offenders. Cases already filed, however, are proceeding to trial.

Charles Nesson, the Harvard Law School professor representing Tenenbaum, said his client–a graduate student in physics–started downloading music as a teenager, taking advantage of file-sharing networks that make it possible for computer users to share digital files with a network of strangers.

"He was a kid who did what kids do and loved technology and loved music," Nesson said in opening statements.

Nesson said the recording companies enjoyed decades of success but were to slow to adapt to the internet.

"The internet was not Joel’s fault," Nesson said. "The internet sweeps in like the way the automobile swept into the buggy industry."

But Tim Reynolds, one of the lawyers representing the recording industry, said song-swappers like Tenenbaum take a significant toll on the recording industry’s revenues and on backup singers, sound engineers, and other people who make a living in music.

Reynolds said Tenenbaum used a computer in his parent’s house in Providence and then at Goucher College in Baltimore, where he was a student, to download and distribute digital files. He was flagged in August 2004 by MediaSentry, a private investigation company that was used by the recording industry to identify illegal song distribution.

Reynolds said that Tenenbaum continued distributing songs even after he had been confronted about it and that the defendant blamed his sister, friends, and a foster child who had lived at the house.

"This defendant knew what he was doing was wrong at each step of the way," Reynolds said.

Under federal law, the recording companies are entitled to $750 to $30,000 per infringement–but the law allows the jury to raise that to as much as $150,000 per track if it finds the infringements were willful.

In the Minnesota case, the jury ruled Jammie Thomas-Rasset, 32, willfully violated the copyrights on 24 songs and awarded damages of $80,000 per song.

Nesson urged the jury to "find the minimum number of infringements" by Tenenbaum, if any at all.

Note to readers:

Don’t forget to visit the GIS and Geographic Inquiry resource center. "Geospatial" technologies–which include geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and remote sensing (RS) tools–are keeping drivers on track. Now, similar technologies in schools let you chart a course to the future of learning. Go to: GIS and Geographic Inquiry

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Venango Technology Center Invests $3.4 Million in Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

The Venango Technology Center (VTC) in Oil City, Pa., is implementing $3.4 million in facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort and efficiency in its 95,000-square foot facility. TAC by Schneider Electric, the building management and energy services business of Schneider Electric, will complete the work as a performance contract with the center. TAC guarantees that the VTC will reduce its utility costs by $50,000 annually when the project is completed in the fall of 2009.

 
The Venango Technology Center provides vocational and technical education for high school students and adults in six participating school districts in Venango, Crawford and Forest counties in northwestern Pennsylvania. While its programs are fulfilling a critical need in the community, the center’s facility is showing its age. Original mechanical equipment was 40 years old and at the end of its useful life, lighting was inefficient and antiquated, and utility charges were high and expected to increase.
 
“Pennsylvania will soon be deregulating electricity, which could mean a 30 to 40 percent increase in costs for an all electric facility such as ours,” said Pat Adams, business manager, Venango Technology Center. “We sought out the most cost-effective means to diversify our energy sources and replace equipment. The performance contract with TAC met all our needs, because it focuses on the key needs of the building, has an energy conservation focus, and delivers long-term results for the facility.”
 
Performance contracting offers many long-term benefits for school districts, such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, and improved energy-using infrastructure. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings. TAC guarantees the amount of savings that performance contracting projects will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized.
 
TAC will implement a variety of energy conservation measures (ECMs) at the VTC to increase efficiency and lower utility costs. These include a new heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system for the entire building; a conversion of existing lighting fixtures to new energy-efficient T8 lamps; and upgrading the energy management system for better control of all the building’s systems. The addition of natural gas heating will lower electric demand and minimize the effects of future rate increases on the center. Leveraging on local TAC resources, TAC Energy Solutions has partnered with FIT Optimized Solution LLC of Pittsburgh, PA, to deliver on the controls portion of the project. This will be their fourth project collaboration with TAC Energy Solutions.
 
TAC is guaranteeing the VTC will save $50,000 annually in utility charges but estimates that the center will actually save as much as $70,000 in energy and maintenance costs each year.
 
“Performance contracting is the most cost-effective solution for an institution like the VTC to upgrade its physical plant because it allows for the leveraging of energy and maintenance savings as funding source,” said Shon Anderson, vice president of sales, TAC Energy Solutions. “This all-electric facility had serious concerns of the impact of electric deregulation. In addition, the building needed to be kept up-to-date to handle the vocational student demand. The VTC serves an important function for the six local sending school districts, which would not be able to handle the student load if VTC was not around.”
 
About TAC 
TAC, the building management and energy services business of Schneider Electric, is a leading provider of solutions that deliver measurable business results to customers by enabling them to do more with less energy. With over 120 years of experience in the HVAC, energy and security arenas, TAC employs more than 8,000 people worldwide, with partners in 80 countries. TAC’s parent company, Schneider Electric, is the global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, offering integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation, and data centers/networks. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, and efficient, the company’s 114,000 employees achieved sales of more than 18.3 billion euros in 2008. For more information, visit www.tac.com and www.schneider-electric.com.
 
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PolyVision introduces the newest members of the eno™ interactive classroom family!

 

Suwanee, Georgia (July 28, 2009) – PolyVision, a Steelcase company, recently unveiled the newest members of the eno interactive family of classroom solutions. The new additions to the eno family help school districts save installation budgets, provide engaging instruction from anywhere in the class and meet the needs of new construction and renovation. 
 
Originally launched in January and designed to engage students and transform teaching and learning, eno classroom solutions provide the world’s first three-in-one interactive technology – dry-erase marker, magnetic and multimedia – combined in one solution. With a forever warranty on the surface and no cords, cables or electronics at the front of the room, eno solutions offer the lowest total cost of ownership available today. Just as important, eno is a sustainable solution (the only environmentally-certified writing surface in the world with Cradle-to-CradleSM Silver certification) and is recyclable.
 
Breakthrough additions to the product line offer unique installation options and mobility to meet the challenging budgets for school districts as well as the individual needs of teachers and students around the world.
 
“Our goal at PolyVision is to help support education environments where teachers and students use technology to prepare for the changing demands of the 21st century,” said Scott Campbell, PolyVision vice president of sales. “The eno family of products supports this goal by empowering teachers and students with classroom tools and solutions needed to improve teaching and learning," he adds.
 
The new additions to the eno family include:
  • eno click – with revolutionary magnetic-mounting hardware pre-installed and no cords or cables to manage, eno click installs instantly to any existing markerboard or chalkboard and can be relocated to a different wall or classroom within minutes. The patented mounting option requires no tools to install, eliminating costly installation and provides mobility to meet the changing needs of instruction.
  • eno mini – is the mobile companion to the eno interactive whiteboard, providing even more flexibility and multi-touch collaboration. Students can participate in lessons from the comfort of their seats and teachers are free to move around the class and continue instruction. Another innovation, eno mini is made with antimicrobial product protection that prevents bacterial and fungal growth on the grip surface of the slate.
  • eno flex – is the first all-in-one configurable classroom solution to combine a marker, chalk and/or tack surface with the power of PolyVision’s eno interactive whiteboard—all without wires or cables. Designed for installation in new construction and renovation, eno flex combines interactive and traditional writing and tack surfaces into one board. With a forever warranty on the eno surface, it is guaranteed to last as long as the building.

Teachers can incorporate their existing instructional curriculum and tools with the eno family of products and PolyVision’s team of education consultants can work with schools to customize professional development to fit their needs.

The eno family of solutions is available in North America immediately. Please contact PolyVision for availability in other countries.
 
For more information, visit educators.polyvision.com.
 
About PolyVision, a Steelcase company
PolyVision integrates time-tested tools with innovative technologies to bring learning to life. From environmentally-certified writing surfaces to industry-leading interactive whiteboards, PolyVision solutions help people learn and collaborate in a connected world. Since 1954, PolyVision has inspired educators, students and workers to be more productive and creative by providing the most effective tools we can imagine and create.
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SchoolPictures.com Reaches Milestone $2 Million in School Donations

SchoolPictures.com (www.SchoolPictures.com), a provider of stress-free school picture days that generate thousands of dollars for schools, today announced in the four years since its founding it has donated more than $2 million to Michigan schools that have used its unique portrait services. This milestone validates the company’s mission to supplement funding for education and improve the academic environment for children while providing parents and students with high-quality, affordable pictures.

Money contributed by SchoolPictures.com is generated from the sales of student portrait packages. Since launching in the fall of 2005, SchoolPictures.com has accepted a fixed fee for each purchased photo package and given the remainder of the cost of these packages directly to the school. During the past four school years, the company has photographed hundreds of thousands of students and donated an average of $7.50 per student enrolled to each school.



“We’ve helped schools purchase tens of thousands of books, new lighting for theaters and gyms and new sound systems. One school installed outdoor playground equipment using in part their SchoolPictures.com payment, and another was able to pay the salary of a part-time media specialist,” said Skip Cerier, president of SchoolPictures.com. “When you hear what some of these educators are spending the money on, it gives you goose bumps knowing that our company is really making a difference in these children’s lives. That’s been our goal from the beginning, and clearly we’re succeeding.”

Motivated after seeing local districts pinched by public funding cut-backs and ever-increasing fixed costs, Cerier, a parent of a school-age child, looked to find a way to assist communities in providing a quality educational environment for students. Cerier, who was working as a photographer shooting graduation portraits, saw a previously untapped way to generate additional money for schools – through annual school portraits. The business model for SchoolPictures.com was then developed with a group of four retired school principals who had witnessed decades of disorganized pictures days that offered no financial benefit to the school. In addition, the company’s scheduling procedures and policies were designed to take the burden of organizing picture day off of school employees, while its online ordering process, the first to be offered by an educational portrait photography company in Michigan, simplifies purchasing photos for parents.

“We congratulate SchoolPictures.com on reaching this landmark in contributions. Eisenhower High School is proud to have been among their first customers,” said Amber Bronson, activities director at Eisenhower High School. “Some of us were frankly skeptical when the company presented its ideas to us, but the results truly speak for themselves. Not only have our picture days become consistently efficient, with children returning to class after a relatively short time, but the whole process has been effortless for our staff. Most importantly, our partnership with SchoolPictures.com has been a significant boost to our budget. Through the donations received, we’ve been able to purchase equipment such as microscopes and host events such as a state-wide student council conference and a senior class picnic, none of which would have been possible prior to the hiring of SchoolPictures.com.”

About SchoolPictures.com

SchoolPictures.com provides stress-free school picture days that generate thousands of dollars for schools. Its mission is to generate high-quality, easy-to-order photos while supplementing funding for education and improving the academic environment for children. Designed with the direct input of a group of four retired school principals, SchoolPictures.com’s unique business model enables the company to accept a fixed fee for each photo package purchased and to donate the remainder of the cost of the package directly to the school. Since its founding in 2005, SchoolPictures.com has presented schools with more than $2 million in total contributions. In addition to student portraits, the company offers school IDs and customized photo yearbooks. A privately held company, SchoolPictures.com is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. More information is available at www.SchoolPictures.com.

###

Contact:

Theresa Freeman

Matter Communications

(401) 351-9509

schoolpictures@matternow.com

 

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102 Educational Institutions Sign Up With SMARTHINKING

WASHINGTON, D.C. – SMARTHINKING, Inc. (www.smarthinking.com), the market leader in providing online tutoring and academic support to students, has announced a continued increase in contracts from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. During the last year, 102 educational institutions representing 30 states and three international locations, including New South Wales, Western Australia and the first ever in Canada, joined with SMARTHINKING to provide their students with 24/7 online tutoring and academic support. 

                      
Independent research proves that SMARTHINKING’s proprietary online tutoring service increases student achievement and helps improve student retention. More than 1,000 universities, colleges and schools turn to SMARTHINKING for on-demand, online tutoring. For more information, visit www.smarthinking.com.
 
Related Links:
 
News Facts:
  • SMARTHINKING, Inc. has announced a continued increase in contracts from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. 
  • During the last year, 102 educational institutions representing 30 states and three international locations, including New South Wales, Western Australia and the first ever in Canada, joined with SMARTHINKING to provide their students with 24/7 online tutoring and academic support. 
  • Independent research has determined that SMARTHINKING’s online tutoring services increase student achievement and assist in improving student retention. 
  • More than 1,000 universities, colleges and schools turn to SMARTHINKING for on-demand, online tutoring.
Quotes:
“We are very proud of our strong growth and our continued success in helping students around the country and across the globe,” said Kathy Clark, CEO of SMARTHINKING.  “Educational institutions continue to share their achievements with their peers and collaborate on best practices to improve student performance and retention, and SMARTHINKING is a powerful service to help them achieve their goals.”
 
About SMARTHINKING:
SMARTHINKING is the market leader in providing online tutoring and academic support to students. Its services were honored with the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) CODiE award for Best Instruction Solution for Students at Home. Schools, colleges, universities, libraries, government agencies, textbook publishers and other education providers partner with SMARTHINKING to increase student achievement and enhance learning. SMARTHINKING connects students to e-structor®-certified tutors for assistance in math, writing, science and business, up to 24/7, on any Internet connected computer. SMARTHINKING’s corporate office is located in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.smarthinking.com.
 
Keywords:
SMARTHINKING, Online Education, Online Tutoring, Education Technology, Online Academic Support, Online Learning, College Accreditation, E-structor, e-structor®, Western Australia, New South Wales, Canada
 
Patty Briguglio
MMI Associates, Inc.
(919) 233-6600
PR Firms Raleigh, NC
 
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Census: Feds contributed little to schools in 2007

The Associated Press reports that per-pupil spending in public schools varies widely from state to state, but the federal government contributes comparatively little to K-12 education, according to a Census report released July 27. The report, based on 2007 figures, shows the country’s 15,638 school districts received $556.9 billion in government funding. Of that amount, only 8.3 percent came from the federal government. The remainder came from state and local sources, the reports said. But the infusion of an unprecedented $100 billion in federal education stimulus money will likely change that equation in the coming years, said Russ Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The report showed that Louisiana received the most in federal revenue in 2007, with that funding making up 17.6 percent of the state’s per-pupil revenue. New Jersey had the smallest percentage of federal revenue, with 4 percent…

Click here for the full story

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Wyoming PBS launches digital library

This fall, teachers and students in Wyoming will be able to use a newly launched PBS Digital Learning Library to supplement their instruction, reports the Billings Gazette. The online library contains video, audio, images, games, and interactive simulations designed specifically for classroom use, delivered to teachers exclusively through Wyoming PBS. All resources are aligned with national and local education standards and are tagged for easy searching. The video resources will be provided in short segments that are more classroom-friendly than 30- and 60-minute television programs…

Click here for the full story

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Ten tips for boosting eCommunication

One of the great things about working in education is the opportunity to start anew every fall. No matter how tough the previous school year was, we get to go back to school with new school supplies, new students, and new hopes.

After a school year marked by massive budget cuts and teacher layoffs, it’s kind of nice to think about something relatively simple and stress-free, like better school communications. So, with hope springing eternally, here are 10 tips for boosting your eCQ (eCommunications Quotient) during the new school year.

1. Start tweeting. Social media is changing the communications landscape in new and sometimes challenging ways. Now’s the time to start experimenting (responsibly, of course) with Twitter, TeacherTube, and other approved–and not-so-approved–social media sites. Eventually, school districts are going to unleash this new medium and find a way to make it educational. Get ahead of the game by learning how to use these sites now. Many leading universities have Facebook pages, and the president of the United States routinely deploys social media to get his message out. It’s time we got on board.

2. Tell stories. Find ways to tell more stories about the people who make your school or district so compelling. School and district web sites are so packed with information and education jargon that the narrative about what is really going on inside classrooms often gets lost. Educators tend to write at a graduate-school level, yet parents and the public often read comfortably at an eighth grade level. A series of photos with captions highlighting a typical student’s day communicates more than text-heavy and often incomprehensible curriculum guides.

3. Add more people. As Rich Bagin, the executive director for the National School Public Relations Association, likes to point out: “When facts and emotion collide, emotions win.” Stories are emotional; facts are not. Find a way to bring more human dimensions and emotion to your electronic communications by posting digitized video interview clips and testimonials, and adding photos. Photos or video of real kids and teachers are more compelling than stock photographs that are used so often on the web that every school web site starts looking the same.

4. Keep it fresh. I hereby empower all school and district web masters to take down any outdated material posted or created by others without asking permission first. Stale, outdated content defeats one of the web’s primary premises: 24-7 access to timely news and information. Let’s not start another school year with outdated phone numbers, deadlines, staff listings, addresses, welcome pages, and policies. Keep it current, or take it off!

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CoSoSys included in CRN’s Top 25 Coolest Emerging Vendors of 2009

 

CoSoSys included in CRN’s Top 25 Coolest Emerging Vendors of 2009

 

San Jose, CA and Bucharest, RO, July 28, 2009. CoSoSys, a leading developer of endpoint security and portable storage device applications, today announced it is has been selected as one of the coolest 25 emerging vendors of 2009 by Everything Channel’s Channel Reseller News (CRN). CoSoSys has been selected for its outstanding results in the endpoint security industry delivered by its cutting-edge device control and data loss prevention solution, Endpoint Protector 2009.

 

The CRN Top 25 Coolest Emerging Vendors of 2009 rewards companies that help solution providers achieve great margins as well as time and cost savings by providing them with innovative, effective and intuitive technology, thus positioning themselves as important competitors to industry giants. With Endpoint Protector 2009, CoSoSys takes a plunge into an overlooked market for device control and data protection as more frequently reported by companies around the world where severe data breaches caused by the intentional or accidental misuse of portable storage and lifestyle devices entailing tremendous losses occur.

 

“Solution providers say they are driving a higher percentage of their sales and profits from these emerging vendors in the midst of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. That’s because emerging vendors are delivering more innovative solutions at a better price for customers and driving higher profits for solution providers,” explained CRN’s Steven Burke in a recent article.

 

Featuring a lower TCO than its competitors and impressive renewal rates and revenue for its endpoint security solutions, CoSoSys is continuously striving to expand its reseller network which now comprises over 60 partners from around the world.

 

“Our strategy is simple: we are committed to placing our resellers on a steady and fast track to revenue and to achieve that goal we employ a three-fold tactic. First, we make sure to design and develop best-of-breed solutions that are effective in what both network protection and cost are concerned and can be ported on several hardware platforms. Secondly, we make sure to generate both up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. The third component is making sure our resellers are able to take advantage of all opportunities arising, by enrolling them in smart technology, sales and marketing training programs,” explained Roman Foeckl, CoSoSys CEO.

 

Endpoint Protector 2009 is designed to minimize internal threats, reduce the data leakage risks and control devices connected at endpoints. It allows IT departments to proactively take control of the device internal use, while tracking all data transferred in or out of the protected network and enforcing encryption of the data in transit on portable devices. The new Endpoint Protector version is available as a free 30 day trial for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Mac OS X or online demo at http://www.EndpointProtector.com.

 

About CoSoSys

CoSoSys specializes in network endpoint security and development of software for portable storage device enhancement.  The application portfolio includes functions from password security, data synchronization and network security.  CoSoSys distributes its products globally through leading hardware manufacturers, software distributors, resellers and directly to users at http://www.CoSoSys.com and http://www.EndpointProtector.com.  CoSoSys has offices in Germany, the United States and Romania, and enjoys a continuously growing installation base of users worldwide.  

 

About Everything Channel and the Emerging Technology Vendor List

Everything Channel is the one-stop shop for accessing, enabling, managing and accelerating technology sales.  From branding and recruiting to marketing and sales, Everything Channel offers technology marketers the unmatched breadth and depth of global brands and market intelligence combined with unparalleled audience loyalty and credibility serving all technology sales channels through an extensive database. Everything Channel provides innovative sales and marketing solutions to arm the sellers of technology with the resources they need to achieve measurable and significant results. 

The CRN Emerging Technology Vendor list features vendors who have been founded in 2001 or later, have revenue under $1 billion and have an active U.S. channel strategy.  Final selection to the Emerging Technology Vendor list is made by the CRN editorial team after a review of all submitted information.

Images and additional materials

http://www.cososys.com/images.html

http://www.cososys.com/press_room.html

 

North America:

CoSoSys North America

Jim Leonard

Phone:  +1 408 239 4727

Email:   jim.leonard@cososys.com

 

Rest of the world:

Mirror Communications Ltd.

Alina Popescu

Phone:  +40 37 2975 796/+40 740 73753 (cell)

Email:   alina@mirror-communications.com

 

CoSoSys Ltd.

Anca Goron

Phone:  +40 264 593 110

Email:   anca.goron@cososys.com

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