Don't Doodle in your Notebook (You May Get Detained by US Customs as an Intellectual Property Thief)

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From the United States of Paranoia Dept.

The Press Republican (NH) report

Keene Valley resident Jerilea Zempel was detained at the U.S. border this summer because she had a drawing of a sport-utility vehicle in her sketchbook.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers told Zempel they suspected her of copyright infringement.

She was released after more than an hour in custody at the Houlton, Maine, port of entry from New Brunswick, Canada.

Her release came only after she persuaded border guards she was an artist doing a project that involved a crocheted SUV as a statement against America's dependence on oil and love for big vehicles.

SHROUDED CAR

Zempel's adventure began when she was returning from the Cultural Capital Festival in Sackville, New Brunswick, where her submission was an SUV cozy on a rented Hyundai Santa Fe.

"I wanted to turn an oversize, macho, gas-guzzling vehicle into a technological ghost by shrouding it in a white, fuzzy cover reminiscent of women's handiwork from another time, another place."

After the festival, Zemple headed for home in her own Toyota Prius hybrid and stopped at the border crossing on Interstate 95 in Maine.

"What happened when I re-entered the U.S. made me ponder what my lowly art project could mean in a larger political sphere.

"And it gave me an idea for a title: the Homeland Security Blanket."

SEARCH AT BORDER

Zempel's passport showed she'd been to Africa, Australia, Central and South America, Mexico, Turkey and Europe in the last nine years.

"U.S. citizens who've traveled to the places I've been need to be looked at. A half hour at the computer gave the agent cause to put me into another suspicious category, meriting a full car search. She (the agent) took my keys and went through my car.

"After going through my (laptop) computer, digital camera, cell phone, business cards, suitcase, reading materials, boxes of yarn and crochet tools, she returned with my sketchbook.

"I was taken to a room and told to sit on a bench with handcuffs at both ends. But they did not handcuff me."

Thanks to boing boing

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This page contains a single entry by Phil Leggiere published on October 8, 2008 1:44 AM.

Minnesota Man spends Two Months in Jail for Possession of Deodorant was the previous entry in this blog.

15 Year old Girl Jailed on Child Pornography Charges (for Sending Naked pics of herself on her cell phone) is the next entry in this blog.

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