Protecting kids or free speech: Where to draw the line?

Controlling what children see on TV, online, and in other electronic media requires a delicate balancing act between the First Amendment rights of content providers and the desire to protect kids from inappropriate material, said panelists during a Nov. 2 discussion at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C.

"The law is not settled on this subject," said Jim Steyer, chief executive officer and founder of Common Sense Media, which sponsored the discussion along with the Georgetown Law Center. He added that "reasonable minds can disagree" on where the intersection of children’s safety and developing media should lie.

The panel, which represented a broad range of opinions and backgrounds, included Steyer; Daniel Brenner, a partner with the media group at the law firm Hogan and Harston; Georgetown law professor Angela Campbell; Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Senior Attorney Kim Matthews; and Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler. The discussion was titled "Media, Kids, and the First Amendment."

The rapidly changing world of digital media–including TV, video games, the internet, and mobile devices–creates many opportunities for children but also presents potential dangers, panelists noted, including a greater chance of exposing children to inappropriate content. How to reduce this likelihood without impinging on the free-speech rights of broadcasters and publishers was the subject of the discussion.

The topic is timely. The Senate recently held a hearing on the Children’s Television Act in the digital age. And earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court remanded FCC v. Fox Television Stations back to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration.

In that case, Fox had appealed an FCC ruling that the network violated its policy barring "fleeting expletives" over the public airwaves. Historically, the FCC has declined to go after the occasional use of expletives on broadcast television, but the agency changed course in citing Fox, noting that broadcasts no longer are ephemeral in an era of digital recordings.

Fox argued that the FCC’s shift in policy was arbitrary and capricious, and the Second Circuit court agreed–but the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the FCC followed appropriate procedure and sent the case back to the appeals court for reconsideration. However, neither ruling addressed the constitutionality of the FCC’s indecency policy on free-speech grounds, setting up the possibility for another court challenge in the future.

As the Georgetown discussion revealed, there are no clear-cut answers to these questions; the conversation was heated at times, and the panelists frequently disagreed.

Gansler said it’s no longer a question of whether media consumption affects children’s behavior.

"The best way to deal with this is to educate parents. If you don’t, [children] are going to learn from their friends," he said, adding that technology advances faster than the laws are able to.

Campbell explained the three constitutional tests that usually are called upon for laws designed to protect children from inappropriate content. Those tests include strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, and rational basis–the last of which she said is rarely applied to media.

Strict scrutiny tests to see if a law is justified by a compelling governmental interest, is narrowly tailored to achieve that goal or interest, and is the least restrictive means for achieving that interest. Intermediate scrutiny applies if a regulation involves important governmental interests that are furthered by substantially related means. Rational-basis review requires that governmental action be "rationally related" to a "legitimate" government interest.

But Brenner noted that many times when a test is chosen, the outcome has been predetermined.

"When media [are] held to strict scrutiny as a test, it’s harder to prove," Steyer said. "Almost always the First Amendment [wins out]."

Campbell noted that different forms of media tend to be held to different standards, but that approach doesn’t make sense, she said.

"It doesn’t make sense to apply a lower standard to broadcast [media] just because it’s broadcast," she said. "For most people, there’s no meaningful distinction. And it also has the same harm to children." She added that combinations of the various tools available should be used to analyze laws restricting media.

The FCC recently issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to ask for public input on content-control technologies and means, Matthews said. The commission is seeking information on teaching media literacy, coordinating government efforts to protect kids from inappropriate digital content, and the commission’s legal authority to regulate such content. As of press time, the NOI had not run in the Federal Register, but should be published there in the near future. Interested parties then will have 60 days from that date to file their comments.

Managing Editor Dennis Pierce contributed to this article.


Common Sense Media

Georgetown Law Center

"Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape" (FCC Notice of Inquiry)


BestPrax Researcher Contest 2009

BestPrax Club, India is pleased to announce the BestPrax Researcher Contest for Leadership and Strategic Planning. The competition is research-driven and the focus is on best practices and next practices.

A Best Practice is a technique, method, process or activity that is believed to be more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc.

A Next Practice is a significantly changed method of service delivery, process or structure, consciously designed with an awareness of the strengths and limitations of a conventional best practice.

Applicants are required to submit a 500-word caselet. All shortlisted caselets will be published in the BestPrax Journal – a knowledge base of best managerial practices on business excellence – to be launched by benchmarking guru, Dr Robert C Camp at the 2nd International GBN Benchmarking Roadshow on Best Practices in Leadership & Strategic Planning, in Mumbai on 18-19 February 2010.

These practices can be collated from internet search, newspaper writings, internship & training reports, actual work experience. Note: Research references must be specified

Research Categories
Best & Next Practices in Leadership
Best & Next Practices in Strategic Planning

Students, professors, writers, journalists, consultants, strategists, leaders

Online Submission in 500 Words (link:
a. Describe an actual Leadership or Strategic Planning “best practice” of a specific organization, Indian or global
b. Challenge the known Leadership or Strategic Planning practices and conceptualize a “next practice”

1. Shortlisted best practices will be published in the BestPrax Journal 2010
2. The BestPrax Journal will be released by Dr Robert C Camp at the 2nd International GBN Benchmarking Roadshow (link:

Prizes per Research Category
First Prize: Cash, Certificate of Achievement and invitation to attend the 2nd International GBN Benchmarking Roadshow
Second Prize: Cash and Certificate of Achievement
5 Certificates of Merit

For more details, please visit

About BestPrax Club:
BestPrax Club (BPC) is a networking and learning forum for member organizations that wish to share and grow their generic business practices; so that they can accelerate their transformation process, through adoption of best practices and benchmarking.


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Splendid NEWS! 4videosoft iPhone Ringtone Maker Give You More Wonderful Experience

4Videosoft iPhone Ringtone Maker, iPhone M4R Ringtone Maker makes it affordable for iPhone users to convert MP3 to iPhone, iPhone OS 3.0/3.1 Ringtone, even convert any video/audio to iPhone M4R Ringtone, including 3GP, AVI, MKV, RM, MOV, XviD,MPEG, WMV, DivX, MP4, H.264/AVC, AVCHD, WMA, WAV, RA, M4A, MP3 to M4R iPhone ringtone. Most pleasantly, you can put the converted M4R Ringtone on the iPhone directly without iTunes.

Key Features
    * Customize iPhone Ringtone length
      4Videosoft iPhone Ringtone Maker gives you access to make any time length Ringtone from video/audio sources.
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      Using 4Videosoft iPhone Ringtone Maker, it’s easy to edit the added iPhone ringtone by removing it or renaming it directly.
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      You can pre-listen both your source video/audio sound and the effect of converted sound before you generate into iPhone.
    * Easy to use
      4Videosoft iPhone Ringtone Maker is really easy to use. The whole process of generation can be finished in only two clicks.


FCC solicits e-Rate comments

As part of its efforts to develop a National Broadband Plan, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments about how the e-Rate program can be improved to meet the broadband needs of schools and libraries — and how it might play a role in delivering or stimulating the adoption of broadband service within communities.

In its Public Notice, the FCC asks educators what they believe are the barriers to increasing broadband deployment and usage in their schools. The agency also asks e-Rate applicants what factors they consider when determining their broadband needs.

In figuring how the e-Rate can be used to help deliver broadband service to more people, the FCC asks stakeholders whether they think the rule requiring that discounts apply only to services used for "educational purposes" should be changed, to allow for the use of school broadband facilities by the community at large. If that were to happen, "what practical or operational impact would such a change have?" the agency asks.

The FCC also wants to know whether it should seek legislative changes that would open the program to more eligible applicants, such as community colleges, pre-kindergarten or Head Start programs, or even colleges and universities. And it wants to know whether the fact that computers and training are ineligible for e-Rate support hinders the adoption of broadband in schools.

"If the e-Rate program were to fund computers and training, what would the projected demand be?" the agency asks. "From a policy perspective, what are the potential negative consequences if such a change were adopted?"

In addition, the FCC seeks comment on whether to allow funding for wide-area networks (WANs) that are built or purchased "to provide telecommunications services" within a community. "Would modifications to this rule regarding WANs … result in greater broadband deployment?" it asks.

What’s more, the agency wants to know how changes to the disbursement of e-Rate funds or the discount calculation process might spur greater broadband deployment.

For example, should the FCC create a new priority level for schools and libraries that don’t yet have broadband service or that have extremely slow internet speeds, allowing those entities to receive funding before other eligible applicants–in essence, letting them "catch up?"

Or, the FCC could change the way discounts are calculated to factor in not just poverty and whether a school is urban or rural, but also whether it lacks broadband services. In addition, the agency could change its priority structure to give preference to those schools that have not received funding for internal connections in several years.

Finally, the FCC asks what should be done about the $2.25 billion annual e-Rate funding cap.

Rather than simply requesting that the cap be raised, the agency would like applicants to give their best estimate for how much they think is needed "to achieve specific levels of broadband connectivity." And should the FCC lower the discount levels for basic telecommunications, or otherwise modify the existing discount levels, to increase the amount of funding available for broadband deployment?

The FCC’s Public Notice comes a few months after the agency held a hearing to discuss the implications of its national broadband plan for education. During that Aug. 20 hearing, panelists testified that the e-Rate can play a significant role in this plan–but only if commissioners raise the funding cap to at least $4 billion. (See "Panelists to FCC: Raise e-Rate funding cap.")

Comments in response to National Broadband Plan (NBP) Public Notice No. 15 are due by Nov. 20, and reply comments are due Dec. 11.


NBP Public Notice No. 15 (PDF)


Experts: Copyright law hinders scholarship

Day two of the annual EDUCAUSE higher-education technology conference in Denver, Nov. 3 through 6, saw at least two presenters speak out about the unfair application of strict copyright protections to scholarly journals — a practice, they said, that hinders academic endeavors.

Stanford law professor and activist Lawrence Lessig told the gathering of campus technology chiefs Nov. 5 that restrictive copyright laws are "destructive of science and education," because academia has adopted a copyright model that largely mimics that of the entertainment industry.

Copyright law has expanded over the past century so that it "reaches across the spectrum" of modern culture, controlling which artists and companies can use what music and images for any kind of media production, Lessig said.

"The law now is reaching in ways never intended, never planned, by the framers" of the Constitution, he said. "We should be skeptical."

Entertainers who depend on copyright laws to prohibit unfettered, free access to their works advocate for strict enforcement that has become accepted in many parts of American society, whereas reform advocates desire little or no copyright protection, which Lessig said could serve as a disincentive to artists fearful that their work would be copied without credit.

Lessig, founder of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society and chair of the Creative Commons project, pushed for a middle ground between these two extreme views of copyright policy.

In a separate session on the future of campus computing, George O. Strawn, CIO for the National Science Foundation and a former computer science faculty member at Iowa State University, predicted that within 10 years, all scholarly material will be freely available online–a departure from today, when copyright laws prohibit online access to the vast majority of scholarly journals. Publishers’ blockades, he said, eventually will crumble under public pressure.

"Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle," he said of opponents of free access to web-based articles.

Strawn also predicted that cloud computing will be the campus norm in 10 years, and students soon will have access to PCs that execute a trillion instructions per second.

For more on Lessig’s presentation on copyright law and its effects on research, click here.

To read all of Strawn’s predictions for the future of campus computing, click here.


Flying First Class

If you are planning to travel abroad, or are looking for a gift to please a friend that travels a lot; then a gift that eases the stress of travel will be well received! Carousel confusion, mixing up passports and baggage dilemmas can all spoil the beginnings of a great holiday. Giving a gift of personalised luggage tags can ensure a less stressful journey and help you to distinguish your bag from the masses on the conveyor belt (without having to resort to a coloured belt/dad’s tie!)

GettingPersonal have added the ultimate gift for stylish travel; the Engraved Diamante Luggage Label will ensure your luggage is treated with first class care! The newest addition to our engraved gifts range is the definitive of glamorous travel and will make any traveller feel like an A-Lister!

This stunning luggage label is covered with beautiful diamante crystals on one side and is engraved on the reverse with any name of your choosing. You may include a personalised message of up to 50 characters, to make the gift that little bit more specialised

The perfect gift for glamorous girls… let them accessorize their travel luggage in style with our chic and unique tags.

Available from for only 19.95, this and many other stunning engraved gifts can be delivered free-of-charge when 30 or more is spent in one transaction Also; all orders that include a personalised card receive free delivery, so why not treat that special someone even further. Items are usually dispatched within 24 hours.

Go on, give this glamorous gift today and put a smile on her face…

Unique high quality gifts & personalised gifts at affordable prices, delivered quickly and guaranteed with a smile.To explore our range of engraved gifts further, please visit our website at


Outlook Express to Outlook Conversion Much Faster Now

Madrid, Spain, November 06, 2009 – Penetration of emails in every sort of personal and professional communication gave rise to many email management applications like Lotus Notes, Outlook Express, MS Outlook and others. This further created the need of email conversion tools because no person and no company can be satisfied with only one email program the whole time. When the need or wish for a change arises, another need for converting email files from the earlier email client to the newer email client arises. SysTools has been coming up with many email migration software tools. One such name is SysTools DBX Converter to convert email files from Outlook Express to Outlook. Many users purchase this software because it is highly efficient, simple and intuitive and at the same time not very expensive.


The company keeps generating newer advanced versions with updated features to benefit the users in a better and more effective way. The latest version 3.0 of SysTools DBX Converter has been launched. It has an updated feature of faster DBX to PST conversion. The software will now facilitate DBX file conversion in a minute fraction of time. This updated feature will be very helpful for many as most of the people in the world today are really time-pressed and cannot take out much time from their busy schedules for a particular task. The version 3.0 of the software will have all the earlier features along with the updated feature and that too at the same price as before. This means the users will not miss out on anything. In fact, they will get more at same rate.


The features present in the earlier versions as well as in the latest 3.0 version include software’s ability to repair corrupt DBX files; read damaged .dbx files and extract them to EML/RTF/PST/MSG; converts ‘Default’ as well as ‘Orphan’ DBX files; completely convert emails from Outlook Express to Outlook or ThunderBird by keeping all email metadata (To, Cc, Bcc, From, Sent & Received date, Attachments etc) intact; provide the users to search DBX files the system; perform batch conversion by converting multiple DBX files at one time. The updated feature allows users to convert Outlook Express email files at a much faster rate than before.


Users can get the latest advanced version 3.0 of SysTools DBX Converter at $49 for the Personal License.


Karen Cator to Headline SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum


Washington, D.C. (Nov. 5, 2009) – The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) today announces that Karen Cator, the new director of the Office of Education Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, will serve as the featured keynote speaker during a special lunch presentation at the Ed Tech Business Forum.  The conference will be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2009, in New York.


Cator was previously director of education leadership and advocacy at Apple, Inc., responsible for the company’s Distinguished Educator Program, professional development initiatives, and teaching and learning content on the Apple Learning Interchange.  In her new role, Cator will lead the implementation of research, policymaking and leadership initiatives to support the advancement of technology development and use in education.  Cator is past chair of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and has previously served on the board of directors of the SIIA Education Division.


"We are thrilled to have such an amazing leader and advocate leading the way at the Department of Education," said Karen Billings, Vice President of the SIIA Education Division.  "Having her participate in the Ed Tech Business Forum as a keynote speaker will add value to the event, and shine a light on the critical importance of technology in the 21st century classroom."


The Ed Tech Business Forum is the nation’s foremost executive event for the education technology industry.  Leaders from top organizations will share their experiences in conducting business in a global market.  In addition, the program will focus on the economic landscape for companies looking at financing options now as well as future growth opportunities.


To find out more about the Ed Tech Business Forum, or to inquire about press registration, visit the event’s Web site at


About SIIA

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry.  SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection for more than 500 leading software and information companies.  For further information, visit


About SIIA’s Education Division

SIIA’s Education Division serves and represents more than 150 member companies that provide software, digital content and other technologies that address educational needs.  The Division shapes and supports the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities and critical market information.


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New York, Nov. 5, 2009 – Many educators agree that one of the best ways for children of all ages to enhance learning is through play and useful applications of the skills they have developed. Not surprisingly, then, many teachers are increasingly adding educational video games to their mix of classroom tools.  Today, the education services and technology company Pearson and the mathematics game developer Tabula Digita are announcing the Pearson DimensionM Indiana After School Challenge, a program designed to encourage Indiana students to practice their computational fluency and problem-solving skills by playing the DimensionM educational video game after school hours.


The After School Challenge will be held the week of November 11-18, between 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. (EST) each day.  Students can download a free version of DimensionM Powered by Pearson, the customized multiplayer game developed by Tabula Digita, at  The games are aligned directly to the math curriculum in Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley enVisionMATH, the nation’s leading elementary math program and Pearson’s middle school programs, Prentice Hall Middle Grades Mathematics and Connected Mathematics (CMP2).


“By offering this creative after school challenge, Indiana educators are helping to simplify the complexities of math by presenting them in a relevant format that today’s students understand, “ said Ntiedo Etuk, chief executive officer of Tabula Digita.  “This fusion of digital content and technology-based immersive learning systems will propel students to be more engaged in their own learning, practicing math even when they aren’t at school.  And the best part of all is that the students won’t even realize how much they are learning because they will be having so much fun.”


The daily challenge will have students going head-to-head using their math skills to advance through timed video games.  Each participant’s scores will be recorded and will accumulate throughout the weeklong challenge.  To ultimately win the competitive challenge, students will have to navigate through numerous mathematical obstacles, and compete against students around the state, to score the most points as a grade over that same grade at any other school.  Two winners from each grade level, grades three-eight, will receive $400 in educational materials for their schools.


Four years in the making, enVisionMATH is a research-based program that blends visual animations and interactive problem solving skills to build a strong foundation in math concepts. Published in both English and Spanish, enVisionMATH’s strong visual learning design includes a Visual Learning Bridge in each lesson, with step-by-step visuals that bridge the gap between the interactive learning activity and guided practice.


The strength of student support is continued with both middle school mathematic program offerings from Pearson: Prentice Hall Middle Grades Mathematics and Connected Math.  Prentice Hall Middle Grades Mathematics draws upon math expert Randy Charles’ expertise to continue developing students’ problem solving skills with real-world applications and meaningful connections with proven success.  With its student-centered, problem-based approach and focus on engaging students in mathematics discussion, investigation, and application, CMP2 helps students develop deep mathematical understanding by becoming active participants in their own learning.


“Math can be a challenging subject for many children, but strong math skills are vital to success in school and in life,” said Mike Evans, Pearson’s senior vice president of mathematics. “We believe that the games encourage and motivate students to practice and master complex material.  Their success is fueled by individual comprehension.”  He added,   “We are witnessing a renaissance whereby students are not only captivated by these games but they are learning core content that will build the rock-solid foundation in math they will need to be prepared for college level work.”


About Pearson

Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education services and technology, reaches and engages today’s digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company’s investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company’s respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, PEMSolutions, Stanford 10, SuccessNet, MyLabs, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker, and many others. Pearson’s comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson’s commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to


For more information about Pearson’s math curriculum products, visit


About Tabula Digita

Tabula Digita is the world leader in the development of innovative educational video games.  Research-based and aligned to state standards, the award-winning DimensionM and League of Scientists instructive tools currently support math and science curriculum for elementary, middle and high school students.  Through its fusion of collaborative, content-rich, immersive learning environments, Tabula Digita’s single and multiplayer products have been proven highly effective in increasing student engagement, time on task, and achievement scores.  Tabula Digita games are currently being used in school districts across the country including New York City Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools, and the Ft. Worth Independent School District in Texas.  For more information, please call 1-877-6-TABULA or 1-877-682-2852 or visit