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Penn State Vice President Doesn’t Take Too Kindly to Pirates, Urges Them to Stop

Nothing says “Welcome Back Students!” like an email on the first day of classes reminding the entire student body to “stay safe and stay legal”

Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Rob Pangborn sent out a mass email to Undergraduate students advising them to stop downloading illegal content from the internet. Chances are you immediately deleted the email upon receiving it.

There’s no beating around the bush with Dr. Pangborn’s email. The note started off by immediately acknowledging the “dangers of malware” without even a simple “Hey everybody, how’s it going. I know I don’t send you guys emails very often but I have something to say…” Well heidy ho to you too Dr. Pangborn.

He mentions that illegally downloading music, movies, and other files goes against academic integrity, but in all seriousness: What college student gives two shits about abiding by copyright laws? If somebody wants to download a Beatles album from the 70s, the first thought that is going to go through your head is not going to be, “Golly Gee, I better pay my dues to Paul McCartney or Michael Jackson or whoever owns the rights to the Beatles.”

Although Pangborn brings up the fact that illegal downloading violates federal law, those violations apparently haven’t hindered Penn State students on the way to becoming the university with the 25th highest usage of Torrent networks in the country.

The biggest scare tactic of the email is when Pangborn says, “Penn State is obligated to respond to reports of such violations.” This seems like a last ditch effort to get all the degenerate students who are performing these ruthless acts of piracy shaking in their boots.

Here’s the full email:

Dear Penn State Student:

As a student at Penn State you have many resources to help protect your privacy, your personal computer, and your good standing at the University.

With the dangers from malicious software (malware) and network attacks growing more menacing each day, it is essential that we all work together to ensure a secure computing environment. Make sure to protect yourself and your computer by reading the information, watching the security videos, and following the steps outlined at Software available at can add a layer of protection to your computer from malware and other threats.

I also want to remind you that respect for copyright and intellectual property is an important aspect of academic integrity. Academic dishonesty can have serious implications for your future employment opportunities. You can learn how to use other people’s materials appropriately at

Although it may seem easy to obtain music, movies, and other materials while surfing the net, you must be absolutely certain that the items you wish to download can be acquired legally. I’m writing to you as a matter of federal law. The unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material is against federal and state laws—and is a violation of University policy. Penn State is obligated to respond to reports of such violations. See our list of popular legal media sources at for options.

Learn more about your responsibilities by reviewing the University’s Computer and Network Security Administrative Policy (AD20) at, and browsing the information at I urge you to stay safe—and stay legal.


Rob Pangborn

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About the Author

Leo Dillinger

Penn State Junior, Print Journalism Major, Minors in English and Sociology, Writer of Arts, Entertainment, News, Tomfoolery and Opinion.

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