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Bringing Media Hard Drives to Japan from US

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  • Bringing Media Hard Drives to Japan from US

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for any insight or experience you all may have with bringing hard drives containing digital media to Japan.

    I'm a music production hobbyist so I have Gigs upon Gigs of sound libraries. I also do some video editing, and I have a rather large library of movies/TV Shows. Most of these libraries are rips from DVDs I've purchased, some are from... other places.

    A point, apparently important enough to be put in bold, on my employment contract addendum was that Japan forbids the import of pirated media. While not all my media can be considered such, some of it might be.

    So, do I:

    1) Ship the drives separately and list them on the itemized bill as "media Libraries"

    2) Pack them in my checked baggage and hope they don't get inspected

    3) Carry them on and hope for the same?

    Any advice or experiential lessons would be greatly appreciated. Sounds like things are pretty stern in Japan regarding pirated media (been reading many of the threads abotu torrenting, DLvs UL, PVPNs, etc) and I appreciate all the convos going on about the matter. great to know before I get there.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    So, your question is how you can get away with breaking Japanese law?
    No shortage of those questions on CriminalPot.

    Bring it with you and customs might decide to have a look.
    Good chance your time in Japan would be over.
    Or maybe just a big fine.

    Have it posted to you.. customs might open it and same result would ensue.

    Maybe try not coming to another country with the intention of breaking the laws.
    Too radical a thought?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
      So, your question is how you can get away with breaking Japanese law?
      No shortage of those questions on CriminalPot.

      Bring it with you and customs might decide to have a look.
      Good chance your time in Japan would be over.
      Or maybe just a big fine.

      Have it posted to you.. customs might open it and same result would ensue.

      Maybe try not coming to another country with the intention of breaking the laws.
      Too radical a thought?
      Thanks for the opinions and scolding. In an attempt to dig through the acrimony, I'll ask a follow up - Is customs in the general habit of searching external media drives when they're brought in to the country? Has anyone had that experience that they'd like to share?

      Or shall this just continue to be another episode of GaijinSoapBox?

      And no, henna, your thought seems entirely reasonable. Guess my media libraries, whether got through legitimate means or not, are a serious national threat. Your assumptions about me are awesome as well, and I guess I brought it on myself that my questions would frame me as just another dastardly westerner out to break import laws, blow my nose in public and steal baby pandas.

      All I wanna do is have my sound, video and movie collection with me...

      Comment


      • #4
        How many HDs are we talking about? How many GBs?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ndeep View Post
          Thanks for the opinions and scolding. In an attempt to dig through the acrimony, I'll ask a follow up - Is customs in the general habit of searching external media drives when they're brought in to the country? Has anyone had that experience that they'd like to share?

          Or shall this just continue to be another episode of GaijinSoapBox?

          And no, henna, your thought seems entirely reasonable. Guess my media libraries, whether got through legitimate means or not, are a serious national threat. Your assumptions about me are awesome as well, and I guess I brought it on myself that my questions would frame me as just another dastardly westerner out to break import laws, blow my nose in public and steal baby pandas.

          All I wanna do is have my sound, video and movie collection with me...
          Nobody said anything about national threat.

          But it appears you know the law and are intending to break it.

          If that is what you WANNA do you obviously can.
          If you are caught you will obviously take the consequences without complaint.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hijinx View Post
            How many HDs are we talking about? How many GBs?
            Two drives:
            1x 1TB Time Machine Backup
            1x 2TB Media Drive

            Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
            Nobody said anything about national threat.

            But it appears you know the law and are intending to break it.

            If that is what you WANNA do you obviously can.
            If you are caught you will obviously take the consequences without complaint.
            Yes, I appear to know the law, and what I'm asking is if anyone has any experience on how this law is interpreted. I'm new to Japan, and I'm hoping I can gain some insight on how customs might act when presented with this, or a similar, scenario.

            As a much more concrete example: I DJ and VJ, and believe it or not, I keep such a large media library for use when I play out. Given that explanation, would customs grant any leeway? Be more strict? Not give a ____? Send the gaijin to jail?

            I appreciate your support of the principle of not entering a foreign country with the intent of breaking laws. I'd feel the same about my home turf... With an "IF" centered around the difference between a malicious attempt to bring pirated media in for commercial distribution, or just a guy with his hobby and entertainment library under his arm. So I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on that front.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't leave Japan very often, but I've never heard of anyone having their hard drive searched. Then again, most people only transport hard drives that are already installed (read: in laptops). One thing you could do is put the files in password-protected zip or rar files. You could even ask a friend to choose the password, but to keep it a secret from you until the coast is clear. That way, on the off chance you do get inspected, they couldn't see what was on the drives. Does that make sense?

              Comment


              • #8
                Obviously you have never brought Hard Drives into Japan. Bringing the drives that way into Japan and if they ask to see what is on them and when they can not they will confiscate them and you until you crap out the password. I would suggest that you use a cloud storage service, wipe the drives clean when coming and then once here download your files back onto the drives. Rapidshare is a good one! No fuzz, no problems!
                Last edited by BackDoor_Man; 2013-01-19, 11:49 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ndeep View Post
                  Two drives:
                  1x 1TB Time Machine Backup
                  1x 2TB Media Drive



                  Yes, I appear to know the law, and what I'm asking is if anyone has any experience on how this law is interpreted. I'm new to Japan, and I'm hoping I can gain some insight on how customs might act when presented with this, or a similar, scenario.

                  As a much more concrete example: I DJ and VJ, and believe it or not, I keep such a large media library for use when I play out. Given that explanation, would customs grant any leeway? Be more strict? Not give a ____? Send the gaijin to jail?

                  I appreciate your support of the principle of not entering a foreign country with the intent of breaking laws. I'd feel the same about my home turf... With an "IF" centered around the difference between a malicious attempt to bring pirated media in for commercial distribution, or just a guy with his hobby and entertainment library under his arm. So I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on that front.
                  The Japanese piracy laws were recently tightened.
                  You can assume that customs have also become more diligent about it too.

                  Anything you have on your drives that you did not obtain legally puts you at risk of prosecution in Japan.

                  They wont care about whether it was malicious or what you intended to do with them.

                  It is black and white.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you can, I would put all your media, which it seems you've done, on the 2TB drive and carry that on (put it at the bottom of your carry on in some box or protective foam case with other stuff piled on top). The other one, with only legitimate files, check. I really don't see much of a chance of having problems. If they ask, tell them you paid for all of what's on your HD. If you're coming from the States, Canada, the U.K., etc., and you look presentable (not a "hippie"), you've got all your papers in order, there won't be any problems.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm a video editor. I routinely bring externals in and out of Japan. I have never even gotten a question about what they are, let alone what was on them. I don't think it even dawned on me I should be concerned. If you come up to customs all nervous, you're going to get extra attention, even if you haven't broken any laws.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nicekeeper View Post
                        I don't leave Japan very often, but I've never heard of anyone having their hard drive searched. Then again, most people only transport hard drives that are already installed (read: in laptops). One thing you could do is put the files in password-protected zip or rar files. You could even ask a friend to choose the password, but to keep it a secret from you until the coast is clear. That way, on the off chance you do get inspected, they couldn't see what was on the drives. Does that make sense?
                        Food for thought, but I think I would agree with Backdoor... the locked drive to me, would raise more of a flag than the open one.

                        Originally posted by BackDoor_Man View Post
                        Obviously you have never brought Hard Drives into Japan. Bringing the drives that way into Japan and if they ask to see what is on them and when they can not they will confiscate them and you until you crap out the password. I would suggest that you use a cloud storage service, wipe the drives clean when coming and then once here download your files back onto the drives. Rapidshare is a good one! No fuzz, no problems!
                        Thanks for that option... totally forgot that the cloud is out there... watching all of us... storing all our pr0ns haha

                        Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
                        The Japanese piracy laws were recently tightened.
                        You can assume that customs have also become more diligent about it too.
                        Anything you have on your drives that you did not obtain legally puts you at risk of prosecution in Japan.
                        They wont care about whether it was malicious or what you intended to do with them.
                        It is black and white.
                        OK, that's good to know. Disheartening to hear, but good to know. I appreciate your input.

                        Originally posted by Hijinx View Post
                        If you can, I would put all your media, which it seems you've done, on the 2TB drive and carry that on (put it at the bottom of your carry on in some box or protective foam case with other stuff piled on top). The other one, with only legitimate files, check. I really don't see much of a chance of having problems. If they ask, tell them you paid for all of what's on your HD. If you're coming from the States, Canada, the U.K., etc., and you look presentable (not a "hippie"), you've got all your papers in order, there won't be any problems.
                        I'll be carrying my bag of DJ gear, so that seems to be an appropriate place for a drive. Thanks Hijinx!

                        Originally posted by Kionon View Post
                        I'm a video editor. I routinely bring externals in and out of Japan. I have never even gotten a question about what they are, let alone what was on them. I don't think it even dawned on me I should be concerned. If you come up to customs all nervous, you're going to get extra attention, even if you haven't broken any laws.
                        Right on Kionon, this is good to hear. I'll also be dressed to the nines and I'm a stickler for paperwork. Do you declare your profession when you leave/arrive? Is it the same customs people, as in do they know your face now?

                        My nerves? Made of steel they are.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I doubt many people who are caught breaking the law in Japan and deported come back to GaijinPot to tell us about it.

                          Most would try to forget about Japan after that, most likely.

                          So others only hear the "I got away with it" stories.

                          If you are caught, please come back and tell us (after you are released, of course).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Downloading several TBs of data could also raise a few red flags. If you're going to go that route, I'd suggest using an sftp connection.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Since you are using pirated media to make money VJing and DJing, might I suggest you place both drives in your rectum before trying to clear customs....?
                              Fred

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