Customs and Border Patrol Officers Warn to Not Have Copyrighted Media on Computer Laptop

FlyerTalk member caviarwire recently returned to the United States, and she says that a CBP officer gave me a stern warning that my laptop shouldn’t have ripped DVD/Blu-ray.

All caviarwire wanted to do was watch movies to pass the time and be entertained while traveling, which initially would seem to be a reasonable and harmless activity. The potential problem is that instead of carrying the original discs with her and inserting them into her laptop computer, she instead copied them onto its hard disk drive.

Several debates ultimately ensued, including but not limited to:

  • Whether or not an individual has the right to copy a movie or other form of media, purchased via legal means, onto the hard disk drive of a laptop computer or other personal device, and
  • Is it within the purview and jurisdiction of United States Customs and Border Patrol officers to enforce and sternly warn passengers about alleged violations of federal copyright laws?

One thought on “Customs and Border Patrol Officers Warn to Not Have Copyrighted Media on Computer Laptop”

  1. Steve K says:

    The issue seems to be having copyrighted materials that the holder cannot prove ownership or license of.

    A copy of registered Msft or Adobe should not create a problem for even an overzealous CBP officer. A copy of music or movie is much more difficult for the holder to prove purchase of a license.

    Clearly a problem that needs to be addressed, just a little smaller in scope than the title here suggests.

    Finally, the question of whether a purchaser of a DVD *SHOULD* have the right to copy it to PC can be argued forever. In the US, many court cases (and settlements) point to a clear answer as to whether it is allowed or protected by law; the answer is *NO*.

    (I wish the answer were different, but acting as if it were is a risk I decline to take.)

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