This is 100% hypothetical!

If somebody in the USA ships DVDs with pirated movies on them to some country overseas, for example the UK, could the recipient or the sender get into trouble by whoever it is that checks parcels?

  • You're not specifying the country of residence of the recipient, but in most cases, yes, both could get into trouble.
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 1:16
  • @jcaron I was asking about the USA.
    – Joe Morano
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 1:39
  • Shipping to or from the US? Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 3:13
  • @BlueDogRanch Shipping from.
    – Joe Morano
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 3:51
  • @JoeMorano er, since you have now answered that the recipient is in the US, and that the shipping is from the US, there is no other countries part left... Could you please edit the question to make the countries clear?
    – YviDe
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 6:03

1 Answer 1


https://www.gov.uk/duty-free-goods/banned-and-restricted-goods tells us:

If you bring goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (eg ‘pirate’ copies of movies or music) they may be seized and you could be prosecuted.

Note that there is a lot of variation from one country to another in terms of enforcement of copyright and other IP. In some countries, this is solely a civil matter (i.e. only the rights holders can make a claim against you), while in others it is (also) a criminal matter (i.e. you can be fined and/or imprisoned). In others still, it is usually a civil matter, but there is criminal enforcement for some cases (for instance larger operations).

In the UK, customs are able to seize the suspected fraudulent goods and notify the rights holders, which can then decide to pursue the claim.

More details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/customs-seizures-and-penalties#protecting-intellectual-property-rights

  • Interesting. So say customs officials search a package and find some CD-ROMs. Do you have any idea how likely they would be to find them suspicious or actually check what's on them? Would that even be legal without a warrant?
    – Joe Morano
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 10:18
  • In many countries, customs officers actually have a lot more rights than regular law enforcement officials. Not sure about the specifics in the UK.
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 10:22
  • If you had to guess, would you think they would find CD-ROMs suspicious?
    – Joe Morano
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 10:24
  • They probably wouldn't bother for a single disc. It you send a box of 200 discs carefully labelled, that's another story. I would guess this is not their primary focus these days, but it's still part of their job.
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 10:26
  • 1
    In any case, since it is illegal, don't do it.
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 10:26

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