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Ask Slashdot: Can I Cross US Borders With Legally Ripped Media?

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the hide-'em-in-your-pouch dept.

Australia 285

First time accepted submitter ozspeed writes "I live in Australia where I've been enjoying the luxury of taking legally purchased music and film and ripping them for my personal enjoyment on my digital media devices; all legal and above board in my country. I'm about to move to the U.S. for a few years and wondered if I would get into trouble if I tried to bring them across the border with me. Any Slashdot been in a similar position, or have a good view of the law on this?" The U.S. has claimed broad data-snooping rights at the border (though some common sense may have broken out, too), but I've never heard of anyone hassled for this reason; have you?

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285 comments

just dont bother (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100797)

seriously the way hollystupid is they will find a reason to bother you caus eyou need ot buy it every time you breathe

Legal in your country. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100807)

If heroin was legal in your country, do you think it would be legal for you to cross into the US with it?

What a stupid question.

Re:Legal in your country. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100979)

If heroin was legal in your country, do you think it would be legal for you to cross into the US with it?

No, of course not. Because heroin is illegal in the US. Next question: if cotton shirts were legal in your country, do you think it would be legal for you to cross into the US with it?

What a stupid question.

Your question was rather stupid. The original question is still valid.

Re:Legal in your country. (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#44101043)

There is nothing illegal about possessing music and movies in the US, regardless of where you got them.

Re:Legal in your country. (3, Informative)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 10 months ago | (#44101117)

There is nothing illegal about possessing music and movies in the US, regardless of where you got them.

But is there a law against importing music and movies for personal use? That's what the poster really needs to know.

Re:Legal in your country. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#44101167)

What exactly qualifies as "importing" in the US? If you're a tourist and you're travelling with a camera, do you have to pay an import duty at arrival and an export duty at your departure?

Re:Legal in your country. (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#44101239)

You may have to pay duties on anything that will remain in the US. If you are bringing something in and taking it with you when you leave, you do not need to declare it.

Re:Legal in your country. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#44101275)

If you're a tourist and you're travelling with a camera, do you have to pay an import duty at arrival and an export duty at your departure?

If your name is Art Vandelay, it's the cost of doing business.

Re:Legal in your country. (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 10 months ago | (#44101261)

I don't think carrying personal belongings counts as importing, unless the items are going to remain in the US when you leave. At least, that is what the customs declaration form says.

Re:Legal in your country. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44101307)

It's personal property. It's not contraband. You are allowed to own back-up copies of your CD's and DVD's. Do you really think that they would make everyone empty out their iphones and mp3 players, or go through them track by track to see if they match a purchase at the itunes store or whatever? No. Well actually the way the US is acting nowadays - maybe...

Re:Legal in your country. (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#44101091)

Yours is a stupid answer. It's a legal copy of a copyrighted work, and the US does recognize the concept of legal copies of copyrighted works.

Also note that heroin is legal in the US. You just have to have a DEA license to handle it. (And there are probably rules regarding its prescription and administration - I'm neither a doctor nor an American to know these minutiae.) The question of importing it is a completely different one, just like with, say, importing food as a tourist (it's not because food is illegal).

Re:Legal in your country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101285)

"food" is too broad a term. A person cannot, for instance, bring fruits, vegetables and meat products into the US when travelling as a tourist, though there are legal means for importing such foods, but it is allowed to bring some processed foods either in their original sealed/closed packaging or even if they are open.

I usually buy snacks for travelling, and have many times, flown to the US with a bag of chips, cookies, chocolate, and other such things, and have never ever been in any kind of problem with the Customs officers in JFK, MIA, HOU, ATL, FLL or SJU airports. I once flew to the US from Aruba (fun times) and they have the US Immigration and Customs offices right in the Aruba airport, no problem there either.

Also, the amount of food I was "importing" would fall within the reasonable limits of personal consumption, I was clearly not doing business with potato chips.

Point is, you can bring some food items with you as a tourist, but not just any kind of food.

Re:Legal in your country. (2, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44101341)

I know for a fact that heroin is used in UK hospitals. I'm not sure about the US though, I think they don't hand out too many "licenses" for it, rather preferring the other drugs like meperidine, fentanyl, morphine, etc. I'm a doctor - but not a US doctor.

Re:Legal in your country. (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#44101781)

Creating "back ups" of your copyrighted data is legal, but copying the data is not legal, which creates a chicken and egg issue. But if the copy was created where it was legal, the copy itself is fine for personal use.

Re:Legal in your country. (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44101253)

Bad analogy. There is nothing illegal in the US about owning a rip of a DVD. In fact, the law specifically states you are allowed one (1) copy for backup purposes. Unless you're downloading stuff in front of the customs officer, what is he going to do? Of course if your computer loads utorrent when started, and you have files on your HD saying stuff like "thanks for downloading warez at xxx.net site", then that might be incriminating enough - IANAL. But just having the rip? Rename it to "SomeMovie(Backup).avi" or whatever and you're 100% covered.

Using your example, it's more akin to you crossing the border while under the influence of heroin. So long as you don't act in an intoxicated/disorderly manner, there is no law against being high. The laws cover possession, distribution and sale.

Re:Legal in your country. (0)

Bengie (1121981) | about 10 months ago | (#44101815)

In fact, the law specifically states you are allowed one (1) copy for backup purposes

According to any good admin, it's not backed-up until you have 3 copies, with at least one copy on a different media than the other 2.

Can't say I've ever seen it (5, Informative)

atriusofbricia (686672) | about 10 months ago | (#44100819)

Speaking from my own experience of crossing the border *a lot* I can't say I've ever seen or experienced even the slightest interest in my laptop or drives. Maybe they have more time at the land borders than they do at the airports I can't say. I haven't crossed at one of those in years but at the airports there's simply no time to deal with such things.

Re:Can't say I've ever seen it (2)

CaseCrash (1120869) | about 10 months ago | (#44100869)

Same experience here, but I am a US citizen so they might be more inclined to fuck around with you as a foreigner. My advice is to keep your laptop/ipod or whatever with you as carry-on luggage.

Re:Can't say I've ever seen it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100965)

Try going through customs wearing a keffiyeh or dastar.

Re:Can't say I've ever seen it (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101033)

Depends on the color of your skin and place of birth. My own experience and from stories told to me by other brown skinned people, the US border guards take a great deal of pleasure sending us into the back room for further questioning. At that point they will try very hard to find something, anything, that will justify their refusal to let us into the US, so I wouldn't put it past them to search a targeted passenger's electronics for "evidence."

Airports don't escape this rule, at least not on flights from Canada where the screening is done at the Canadian airport. Personally, I've always been either let through or refused entry after the half-hour interrogation session, but I've heard from others who'd been kept in the back room exactly long enough to make them miss their flight.

Needless to say I stopped visiting US many years ago.

Re:Can't say I've ever seen it (5, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44101417)

Eh, it depends on the customs officer you get, too. I have pretty serious health conditions - heart trouble. I've had surgery. I have a pacemaker/defibrillator. I can walk short distances, etc, but standing in line at an airport for 2 hours is out, so I always get a wheelchair which the airlines are happy to provide. One day coming in to the US this bastard of an ICE officer who was obviously in a foul mood, starts giving me shit for the wheelchair, even when I told him it belongs to the airline, not to me. He seemed to think I was trying to smuggle something into the country inside it or something. Anyway he sent us to the area where they review stuff, and my wife and I got searched. The American Airlines airport wheelchair was x-rayed. Obviously they didn't find anything, and sent me on my way. But when you get a despotic official hell bent on ruining people's day, it will happen no matter what your skin color. And yes, I'm white, blonde, blue eyes, and my wife is also white.

Re:Can't say I've ever seen it (2)

skywhale (664067) | about 10 months ago | (#44101767)

I spent a happy hour in Orlando watching some officers try to get a wheelchair through the metal detector without it sounding off. The elderly lady sitting in the chair was fading away as we watched.

Re:Can't say I've ever seen it (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | about 10 months ago | (#44101137)

I have crossed at land borders multiple times carrying both a laptop and an MP3 player, both containing ripped media. I can report that traveling between the US and Canada, there has been no interest from either Canadian or American authorities in my equipment's contents. I am a US citizen, though, so your experience may vary.

Re:Can't say I've ever seen it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101291)

Same experience, I fly into the US (from the UK) around 5 times a year, usually with a laptop, a tablet, a smart phone and an MP3 player, and despite the 20 questions they put you through at immigration I've never had anybody ask anything about any of my devices or the data contained there-in.

Why would they care anyway? Any data I can carry I can also dump up onto my FTP server, and then download once I've entered the US.

Customs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100843)

My personal recommendation is don't try going through customs with a suitcase full of CDs. They won't check your laptop, most likely. If you're shipping a bunch of stuff, I don't know what they do there. The best way to bring your stuff over is probably digitally, via some server, where you never have to bother with customs. As for legality? I don't know, but we get away with a lot of stuff. The people who get in trouble here are the people who either sell or share. If you're doing neither of those things, you're generally safe.

Re:Customs (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#44101263)

My personal recommendation is don't try going through customs with a suitcase full of CDs

Just replace it with a few microSD cards smuggled in the soles of your shoes. ;-)

Why make trouble for yourself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100863)

Don't they have FTP in Australia?

BTW, I would advise against moving to the US. Would you move to East Germany [wikipedia.org] "for a few years?"

Re:Why make trouble for yourself? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#44101003)

(FWIW, the high-profile accusations of Stasi-like behaviour implied that the rest of the world [reuters.com] was being treated like East Germany much moreso than the US itself. Keep in mind that while the NSA may be retaining metadata, they have carte blanche to the same information in every other country. So much for the Pledge of Allegiance.)

That being said, as a Canadian who's visited the US several times, they just don't care. They're too busy to scour everyone's mobile devices. As long as you don't look like you might be Muslim or a specific individual on their hit list, you won't even be subjected to anything more than backscatter and removing your shoes.

Re:Why make trouble for yourself? (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 10 months ago | (#44101237)

Same here, I'm Canadian and travel to the states often, my mom is in the states. I've never had a problem with my legally owned, but illegally ripped music and movies. Under the DMCA it's illegal to remove digital locks on content, so even though I've bought a movie and have the right to do as I wish with it, it's technically illegal to rip it so I can carry a library of them on a USB stick while traveling. One of those grey areas with the DMCA. As I said, I've never been given a problem crossing the boarder with it.

you can walk over it with illegally ripped media (4, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44100875)

they can't check.
they know they can't check.

that is not what they're looking for if they're checking your backpack.

now.. if you got loads of obviously pirated cd's - not homeburn! - but commercial asia type pirate cd's.. they'll snatch 'em if they see 'em. because that is how the customs crews are trained.

Re:you can walk over it with illegally ripped medi (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#44101411)

they can't check.
they know they can't check.

I'm not convinced that's even remotely true [sophos.com] .

Since ICE is under DHS, and they've basically said they can search your laptops ... it falls within the mandate of ICE to now police copyright.

I can entirely believe that (if not now, soon), they might start saying that if you've got ripped media you can get detained. Once your border folks are an extension of policing copyright for industry, this is an entirely plausible scenario.

Is this post a troll? (5, Informative)

metrix007 (200091) | about 10 months ago | (#44100879)

For the record, I'm an Australian who lives in NYC. I'm very familiar with the policies of both countries.

Australia has some backwards format-shifting laws, prohibiting ripping DVDs under all circumstances for example, so it's inaccurate to pain Australia as better than the US in that regard. We can rip VHS though.

Basically, it's illegal to upload and distribute stuff, or to be making money off ripped items. If you just have stuff ripped for yourself, they are not going to care. If you're really concerned, put it all on a harddrive. If you're really, really concerned, encrypt that harddrive. If you're really, really, really, really concerned upload it and download it later. Internet speed is pretty fucking fast here.

Of course, having gone through customs numerous times with hundreds of burned DVDs, I don't think there is much cause for concern. I'd be much more worried about the UK.

Re:Is this post a troll? (2)

GodGell (897123) | about 10 months ago | (#44101127)

Internet speed is pretty fucking fast here.

Compared to what?

Last I heard, Internet connection speeds are significantly behind the curve in large parts of the US. Still, better than Australia, but not quite "pretty fucking fast" territory! :)

Re:Is this post a troll? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#44101377)

"or to be making money off ripped items. "
doesn't matter if you are making money. It's a violation of copyright law to distribute items you don't have permission to distribute.

Re:Is this post a troll? (4, Informative)

yurtinus (1590157) | about 10 months ago | (#44101425)

I'm with you on this one... The question is just asking basement dwellers to peek out from under their tinfoil hats out and speculate on how much the NSA wants your Steely Dan collection. To summarize: Nobody at the border really cares about your music collection, especially if it's sitting on the hard drive of your laptop or media device. You're gonna hear a lot of folks here make a big deal about encrypting your drives, doing this that and the other. Don't pay attention to those guys, they don't get out much.

Re:Is this post a troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101627)

But then when he starts downloadig it the NSA is all over him. Back to Australia!

Re:Is this post a troll? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 10 months ago | (#44101739)

I'd vote against encrypting a hard drive. Video files don't look suspicious, but an encrypted volume sure does. Really, having a copy of your legally purchased DVD's isn't illegal here. Making them is. Since you weren't under the DMCA when you made the copies you'd technically be in the clear here, as backup copies are legal in themselves.

Ethically, yes. Legally, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100881)

Next question?

Hidden Truecrypt Volume (1)

BeanBagKing (1151733) | about 10 months ago | (#44100887)

I don't believe it's illegal, but IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Plus, even if it isn't, some border agent that doesn't know the law could still make your life miserable. Easier solution, create a hidden Truecrypt volume.

Re:Hidden Truecrypt Volume (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101577)

Yep.

I have some photos that I took in my decoy partition. Never been asked to decrypt it yet, but have heard 'agents' in more than one airport mention in conversation that anything encrypted raises some kind of red flag.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the Plutocratic States of America, and to the authoritarian state for which it stands, one Nation under surveillance, wiretapped, with incarceration and police abuse for all.

No (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100893)

Somebody seems to have learned everything he knows about America from Slashdot.....

Online backup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100911)

Back it up with an online backup service such as backblaze.com then when you reach your destination, do a restore.

But check you can do the restore before you make the journey.

Just do it (0)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 10 months ago | (#44100915)

Encrypt it. All of it. With a long password. And don't give them your password if they ask.

Re:Just do it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101057)

Then they'll detain you for having encrypted data on your hard drives under the supposition that only someone doing something illegal would resort to encrypting their data.

The States is a wonderful country for contradictions, Encrypt your data to protect your privacy then they use it as the basis for a suspicion of illegal activities detainment. Gather a store of food and water so that you can survive a natural disaster and be detained as a possible terrorist for hoarding food to survive the coming attack that you;re involved in. Try to not have someone looking over your shoulder so your email or online banking is kept private and be considered suspicious because you're hiding something again. Try to reduce your bank fees by using cash more often and find yourself being considered suspicious because you're trying to mask your purchases by not using debit or credit cards.

Why were you moving to the States, again?

If they have no other reason to search your stuff (1)

langelgjm (860756) | about 10 months ago | (#44100927)

If they have no other reason to search your computer, then there is probably a 99% chance that no one will even ask you to turn on your laptop.

On the other hand, if they do have some reason to give your more scrutiny than the average Australian, it may be worth it to prepare for your computer to be searched and/or confiscated. The worst that will probably happen is that you may never see your computer again (or you may get it back after 6 to 12 months, maybe damaged).

I don't think I've ever heard of an instance of someone's computer being searched, pirated digital media being found, and then them being prosecuted for copyright infringement. Is it theoretically possible? Sure. Is it remotely likely? No, not unless they want to get you for something else, but that's all they can make stick.

What I wouldn't do is burn all your media to DVD-Rs with handwritten labels and stuff those in your bag, since that makes it look like you want to sell fake movies for $3 on a street corner, and the government believes that helps fund terrorism.

If you really care that much, maybe dump it all in a TrueCrypt partition, or delete it all and pirate it when you get here, or just leave your hard drive at home and have someone snail-mail it to you. I'd say simply send the data over the Internet once you arrive, but being Australia, I'm guessing you might not have the bandwidth or transfer limits to make that feasible.

Re:If they have no other reason to search your stu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101001)

If they have no other reason to search your computer, then there is probably a 99.999% chance that no one will even ask you to turn on your laptop.

FTFY.

Re:If they have no other reason to search your stu (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 10 months ago | (#44101007)

Not too many home connections in the US would make that feasible either, assuming we are talking about multi-terabytes of data. Upload speeds generally suck residential connections in both countries (some exceptions exist: FiOS in the US and any NBN or Telstra Velocity FTTH connection in Australia).

I wouldn't even bother with the TrueCrypt - if they discover the partition, it might just attract further checks.

Re:If they have no other reason to search your stu (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 10 months ago | (#44101165)

Use the hidden partition. They can't prove it's there. Dump stuff you wouldn't want a complete stranger to see in there, like receipts for all your electronics (silly example). If they insist on brute-forcing it to check for a hidden partition, wish them luck.

Re:If they have no other reason to search your stu (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 10 months ago | (#44101367)

True, if you're going to do it, do it that way. My point was more that I don't think it's worth it in the first place. If you have a volume already set up for other purposes by all means, but personally I wouldn't go to the trouble if I was in the OP's situation.

Re:If they have no other reason to search your stu (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 10 months ago | (#44101267)

If they have no other reason to search your computer, then there is probably a 99% chance that no one will even ask you to turn on your laptop.

Off-topic, but I've only once been asked to boot up my computer, on a flight out of Italy. Later, on the plane, the passenger next to me tried to boot up her PC, and it kept crashing. She had forced a shutdown mid-boot after the security check and corrupted her boot sector. The ironic bit was that she was a consultant with a certain Big Blue IT company.

This was around the time when they started getting concerned about the threat of false laptops with explosives instead of batteries, so I'm guessing this was a common policy for about three weeks, before the complaints from major corporations about the lost productivity of their mobile workforce started rolling in....

Re:If they have no other reason to search your stu (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 10 months ago | (#44101797)

explosives instead of batteries? I thought that the batteries exploded often enough without our help.

as long as you don't have plants or animals (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#44100931)

border control mostly cares about plants, animals, insects, large amounts of precious metals, illegal drugs, kiddie porn

no one cares about you carrying around ripped music and movies

i've traveled around the world and from all the nonsense you read about US law enforcement i've had less trouble at US Customs than almost anywhere in the world. including Europe.

Re:as long as you don't have plants or animals (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101349)

I'm Canadian
I've walked through European customs with just a quick scan of my passport.

Going to the US they only really focus on 2 things.
Are you going to work?
Do you have any oranges?

Yes sir! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100933)

I cross the US/Mexico border by land every day and I have had work colleagues tell me at least on two occasions that they have had their legit CDs confiscated from their cars, apparently because they were out of their jewel cases. I one case, the CDs were of dubious origin, but it shows that they do pay attention to such things and that apparently they think think they work for the RIAA rather than the HSA.
None however have told me their digital devices were inspected for illegal music, and interestingly both colleagues who were hassled were Mexican nationals. Profiling, anyone?

My logic (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 10 months ago | (#44100945)

Standard "IANAL, TINLA" disclaimer...

My LOGIC goes like this: the DMCA prohibits the act of running DeCSS. If you run a decryption program that spits out a standard ISO/MP4/XviD file, and you're legally entitled to enjoy the content that you purchased, I can't see there being an issue with it.

not an issue (2)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 10 months ago | (#44100957)

Frankly, unless you're on a watch list for something else, or acting completely suspicious, I can't see that they would bother you. I've made several international flights in the past 2 years, and each time I've just given over my customs declaration form, which wasn't looked at, and waved on through.

Of course, now the NSA is probably going to tip of ICE to your evil plot to bring illict digital copies of 'Men at Work' records into the US.

are you on a watch list or anything? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100967)

Is your name Julian Assange or Edward Snowden? You're probably okay if not...

Law in the US (1, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 10 months ago | (#44100991)

1) The law in the US is becoming above the law
2) You poor bastard.
3) all other questions refer to #1

Re:Law in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101149)

1) The law in the US is becoming above the law

Excuse me, but are you making sense? I think not...

I've traveled from USA to various European destinations & returned with my rips on my iTouch, Android phone, & netbook without issue. As it should be. But then, sometimes shit happens...

Re:Law in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101713)

I think his point was that "law enforcement officers" of any stripe or caliber are allowed to act like armed thugs. They are even allowed to murder people with no repurcussions.

You're only one "law enforcement officer" at an airport with some kind of bad attitude away from having your laptop scoured in a fishing expedition to try to convict you of something.

Just leave your passport at home... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44100995)

Just leave your passport at home and you will be welcomed with open arms. Just make sure you get here by illegally crossing the southern border.

Hell, in a few weeks you will even be granted citizenship.

Re:Just leave your passport at home... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 10 months ago | (#44101297)

Just leave your passport at home and you will be welcomed with open arms. Just make sure you get here by illegally crossing the southern border.

Hell, in a few weeks you will even be granted citizenship.

Oh, you viscious b******s. I know illegal immigration is a serious offence, but that sentence is just disproportionate to the crime. What next, the death penalty for children who shoplift sweets?!?

Re:Just leave your passport at home... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 10 months ago | (#44101451)

Actually, because the US is one of the few countries that tax their citizens' worldwide income (even those who have permanently left the US), a foreigner or short-term resident being 'given' US citizenship is indeed a bit of a punishment. They'll have the 'fun' of filling out US tax returns for the rest of their life.

Re:Just leave your passport at home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101505)

Just leave your passport at home and you will be welcomed with open arms. Just make sure you get here by illegally crossing the southern border.

Hell, in a few weeks you will even be granted citizenship.

Oh, you viscious b******s. I know illegal immigration is a serious offence, but that sentence is just disproportionate to the crime. What next, the death penalty for children who shoplift sweets?!?

I'm curious, what sentence are you referring to? Are you referring to free access to welfare, or are you referring to deportation? I'm not sure what you mean by disproportionate sentence? Just for the record, only in the US can you illegally cross into the country and be given work and allowed to go onto the welfare rolls. Then, you can live in a sanctuary city and live without paying any federal or state taxes. Boy, the punishment is really severe!!!

Post it (3, Interesting)

retech (1228598) | about 10 months ago | (#44101019)

If you're really worried about it, put everything on a drive and send it ahead of you via the post.

Fair Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101021)

It sounds like your practice of copying CDs for your own enjoyment is legal in the US as well. This would fall under "Fair Use"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

Re:Fair Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101787)

Try explaining "Fair Use" to the border agent when they're trying to find something to nail you with.

Remember, the border agent likely has an IQ below 80, watches Glenn Beck and associates 'them damn mp3 CDs' as some kind of liberal traitor plot.

Micro sd cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101023)

Put all that stuff on micro-sdhc cards (32gb each), and put them in your socks. Just don't look nervous when you are "interrogated" by customs and immigration on arrival... :-) In any case, leave the porn at home, and bring receipts to prove you legally purchased the cruft just in case.

this is what you're worried about? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101083)

Moving to a new country and all he cares about is music and movies. Get a life brah.

Do yourself a favor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101143)

Upload it to a server then download it once you get here. Far better than dealing with the hassle that is U.S. Customs. You then have digital backups as well, win, win!

Re:Do yourself a favor... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44101469)

Er, upload speeds are usually nowhere near download speeds, thanks to ISP's insisting on fashioning their bandwidth that way - greedy little fucks. So yeah, good luck uploading those 500GB of movies and songs. What year did you say your trip was again?

Why Bring Disks? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 10 months ago | (#44101207)

I travel into and out of the USA all the time with thousands of songs, dozens of movies and hundreds of books as pdfs for my personal amusement and edification, and it's all on a hard drive the size of a deck of cards. Why would you bring disks? They're bulky! Just dump it all on a TB drive - it'll cost what, $90? Stupendously more convenient.

are they really going to check? (1)

JC61990 (2653877) | about 10 months ago | (#44101211)

My question would be is are they really going to search you for ripped media? i would think they would be looking for drugs and weapons over dvds to be honest. I think just having your movies on a laptop should be fine, portable hdd better, and on an ipod/iphone or some kind of mp3/4 player would be better (you can even watch them during your trip overseas).. If you have a large collection of burned movies on some type of media, then i would think about getting it all into digital form. SD cards can hold a large amount of data these days, and if you have a digital camera, just load the sd up with whatever, and pop it in your camera when you travel. I would say you have nothing to worry about. Or if its easier, you can mail your stuff to yourself at your new address in the US, this way you are not in possession of any type of media while going through customs.

Re:are they really going to check? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 10 months ago | (#44101319)

forget the drugs and weapons. one of two big concerns when entering is food, the US doesn't want pests contaminating agriculture. The other is foreign goods, if you have a bunch of new ready-to-sell merchandise in wrappers you're going to pay a tariff at least....

I've met hundreds of DJs who do this all the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101247)

Do it. Don't worry. EDM DJ's travel with bags of ripped CDs and ripped music on laptops all the time. Many of these guys are crossing international borders weekly, and I have yet to hear of anyone having any trouble with it. I've heard of people being detained from time to time, but it's never because of ripped music.

The originals are often to rare and valuable to carry around with them.

I will look forward to it arriving yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101249)

or look backwards for it arriving tomorrow.

Even with a couple of computers in the car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101251)

Though of course if you're dumb enough to voluntarily declare such activity, I'm sure you'll tip them off. ICE isn't there to be your friends, the less you say the better, and the sooner you and others waiting behind you can cross.

I can't imagine (1)

neminem (561346) | about 10 months ago | (#44101295)

Why would they care that you're bringing a hard drive? Why would they bother to look at it, let alone make you turn your computer on, attach it to the hard drive and look at its contents? I'm with basically everyone else: just don't bring a pile of dvds that look like bootlegs. If you really want to bring a pile of dvds, you're still probably fine as long as they don't look like bootlegs you bought from a bootlegger... but why would you bring piles of dvds, as opposed to just leaving them digital on a hard drive?

I wouldn't worry (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 10 months ago | (#44101303)

I was in your situation a couple of months ago. I'm an Australian who's just moved (April 2013) to the US for at least a few years, maybe longer. I also had a lot of media on me when I crossed the border (ripped or otherwise). I don't think you will have any problems unless you literally had half a suitcase filled with dodgy-looking burnt DVDs (which looks like piracy and shows up easily on Xray).

Carry your stuff in on a removable hard drive or two or on a laptop and you will just blend in with the millions of other business travellers who enter and exit the US with laptops/storage devices/other computer peripherals every week. Airports are busy places (especially in the US where they seem to be chronically under-staffed compared to Australia), and customs have bigger fish to fry. They are looking for threats to agriculture/disease/pests and illicit drugs, mostly. If you look like a regular dude with a laptop they won't hassle you at all.

And 'welcome' to the US - it can be a pretty frustrating place as a new resident (trust me on this - US systems and processes seem not to consider 'foreigner' or non-resident alien as a use case so it's a complete nightmare doing even mundane daily tasks, until you get a local drivers licence, a SSN etc. Also in most states they won't recognise your existing Australian licence as equivalent, so you'll have to do a driving test to get a local one, hooray. And they don't give a toss about your credit history either so have fun applying for a rental apartment/getting a loan/even getting approved for a contract cell phone etc.)

But bear with it. After a few months once you jump through all the bureaucratic hoops things get a lot easier. Doing stuff here (at any level of government or even within private companies) is inconsistent, arbitrary, piecemeal. But once you're set up and good to go, it's a good place to live. Though you'll want to get a VPN back to Australia to get a fix of decent TV or radio news (ABC, SBS or otherwise) - 'news' here on all networks is mind-numbingly dumbed down and locally-focused.

Advice for US Customs (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 10 months ago | (#44101331)

1. Wear dark glasses
2. Sweat a lot
3. Sniffle and wipe your nose often
4. Drink a six pack of Red Bull beforehand
5. Don't check any bags
6. Stutter when you answer questions
7. Wear a hat pulled low
8. Be swarthy
9. Carry a lot of cash
10. Don't look like your passport photo

And that's pretty much all you need to know to get through US customs if you're Australian.

Reminds me of the paranoid worries I had! (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 10 months ago | (#44101357)

First a confession. Back in the 1990s I ripped text books. All my fellow PIGS (Poor Indian Grad Students) did the same. We were in India, if Eastern Economy Edition is not available, American text books would cost about half a month salary of a gazetted officer. ( 1800 rs a month, 14 Rs/US$). So you give the book to the local Xerox shop and next day you get a bound copy of a poorly xeroxed book. It would reek of some chemical. Letters would undergo some kind Laplace transformation at the center and fade, both the recto and the verso pages would be on one wide page. Lento would be empty!

Well at the time I got admission to PhD program in USA I wanted to bring those ripped books along, naturally. But was deathly afraid the immigration officer would find these books, and mark me a flagrant violator of copyright, a person unworthy of admission to a great American university, and do in his best soup nazi voice, "no visa to you" and send me back. So I shipped them all using surface mail and crossed the border without any contraband.

That is how I got the U S Federal Government, to aid and abet my flagrant and willful violation of copyright and the intellectual property of the text book companies of America. The poor postal worker lugged that entire box a flight of stairs up and deposited the treasure in my doorstep, some four months later! All those books, Aircraft Performance Stability and Control by Perkins and Hage, Hale, McCormick, Atkins, Timoshenko, Nicholai, and so many other goodies are still in the bottom shelf of my office. I recently had to look one up to understand quarternions, to implement some rigid body transformation of coordinate systems!

No. (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 10 months ago | (#44101363)

Your safest bet would be to stay home. As soon as you enter the US, all your digital devices automatically hook up to a special network run by the US government and transmit all the information about your digital media, your street drug use, sexual behavior, thoughts you thought or ever thought about thinking and if there's any red flags you'll be arrested as soon as the border agent scans your I-94 form.

Doesn't matter (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 10 months ago | (#44101387)

What matters is whether or not you're a person of interest. Does the US government have any reason it might want to harrass you?

If not, then you should be fine.

If so, then they'll find some reason to do so. Your music files or lack thereof, won't significantly modify the chances of this happening.

The law is irrelevant. And also supreme. You will almost certainly be breaking many laws, which nobody ever heard of, and almost never get enforced.

hide your data with minimal hassle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101413)

1. get a laptop that has 2 drive bays
2. put a clean windows install in the master bay, put your real drive in the slave bay
3. if they want to see your laptop boot it to the clean windows and let them poke it, you have nothing to hide right?
4. at the hotel switch your drives back and use your computer, make sure to switch back before you leave the country

Anyone who knows enough about computers to know this is possible isn't working a job where they have to deal with smelly foreigners all day.

If you are super paranoid back up your real drive at home and encrypt the whole thing you are carrying, then if they catch the 2nd drive you can say it isn't formatted.

Or encrypt your real drive and ship it to the hotel.

This is getting tiresome. (2)

Holladon (1620389) | about 10 months ago | (#44101435)

As an American who travels with some frequency, I'm more familiar than most with how onerous airport security has gotten, and my encounters with border control at numerous other countries have left me saddened at how poorly ours tends to measure up (in terms of politeness, common sense, etc.) Likewise, the US Copyright Act needs a massive overhaul, and the statutory penalties for relatively minor violations need to be completely re-worked, if not abolished -- the current copyright enforcement regime is abhorrent to anyone with a modicum of common decency.

All of that said, this anti-America stuff is getting seriously circlejerky. You're seriously worried about getting hassled for bringing personal-use copies of legally-acquired media into the US? Seriously?? Are you actually that ignorant about US copyright law (I suppose one could be forgiven, somewhat, for trusting anonymous internet-dwellers who would have you believe the police break down people's doors to search for stolen digital media and similar nonsense) or are you just flamebaiting?

You're far more likely to be pulled aside for being a dick to customs agents -- and if you are flamebaiting, I'd put your chances at about 50/50 there -- than for a random screening to see if you were trying to import contraband. And even then, even if they pulled you aside for enhanced screening and opened up your computer and held you for hours searching through everything you had in your possession, even then you would still have nothing to fear, assuming all of the digital media you're referring to are actually personal-use copies of legally-acquired media as you state. US and Australian copyright law aren't that different.

Seriously folks, the melodrama is getting out of hand.

Just look normal (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 10 months ago | (#44101459)

First, encrypt your stuff with a key that is encrypted with a pass phrase you can remember. Then upload your encrypted stuff to some cloud storage in Europe. Then transfer your encrypted stuff to some cloud storage in USA. Then move to USA carrying normal things loaded with common stuff not encrypted. Once settled in and acquired high speed internet, download your stuff from the cloud storage in USA.

You have to be careful in any English speaking country (and a few others).

Well, you'll be hassled now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101465)

Now that you've told them, by posting online, that you are worried about it, they will probably hassle you for the fun of it.

Encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101515)

One word: encryption. TrueCrypt is one of the few encryption packages that have not given Big Brother a back door.

I crossed the border and I won (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101659)

I have crossed the US border with both legally ripped and pirated music on my phone, and no one arrested me. I even returned, and no one arrested me. No one gives two fucks about anything but drugs and weapons at the border, and it is probably legal anyway.

Canada customs might (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44101733)

Canada customs is prone to view every image and every PDF on your computer, and hassle you for that cool lockpicking manual you found.

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