I want to welcome you to the start of a productive and enriching spring semester. I’m excited about the months ahead and the many ways we’ll both work and share in the vibrant Penn State community. I also want to encourage you, as valued members of our community, to be aware of the computer security and policy issues integral to a safe environment at the University. It is important that you, your friends, and peers understand and adhere to the policies in place that are designed to protect both you and Penn State.
Penn State’s copyright policy
As many of you know, Penn State is a strong proponent of copyright law and related protections for intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, students who illegally download or distribute music, movies, and other materials are typically not aware they’re violating laws and policies. For this reason, I want to underscore: that all Penn State Internet users must be absolutely certain they are not sharing copyrighted materials, and the items they download are acquired legally. Students who are found downloading or distributing illegal media may lose network access privileges or may be referred for University disciplinary actions. They could also face the possibility of a lawsuit from agencies such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) or the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The University is obligated by law to respond to reports of such violations.
You can learn more, by reviewingt Penn State’s Computer and Network Security Administrative Policy (AD20) and browsing the legal downloading options and tips cited on this website.
Ensuring a safe computing environment
It is also essential that all Penn State community members take proactive steps to protect themselves from the ever-present threats to personal identity and computing dangers—including identity theft, email hoaxes, phishing scams, malicious attacks, spyware technologies, malware, and much more. Please ensure that you protect yourself and your computer by reading the information, watching the security videos, and following the steps outlined at http://its.psu.edu/be-safe/. In addition, software available at http://downloads.its.psu.edu/ can add a layer of protection to your computer from malware and other threats.
I invite you to join me in building a safer computing environment for everyone at Penn State by sharing these resources and ensuring community members follow the best practices outlined above.
Nicholas P. Jones
Executive Vice President and Provost