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Encyclopedia > Contraband

Contraband consists of items of which possession may be illegal, depending on the variety and the country or the age or sex of the possessor. One can be punished for having such an item, even if one has paid for it, made it oneself, or is in possession of it without knowledge.




  • Pornography - this varies immensely from country to country and by culture
  • Hate literature - varies according to country
  • Books which may be considered subversive or immoral in some countries or cultures.
  • Certain software e.g. advanced encryption algorithms, PGP, Linux DVD de-encryption software such as DeCSS, etc. in some countries.
  • Official secrets


  • Wild animals, especially in cities or without special training
  • Possibly dangerous domesticated animals, such as a pit bull
  • "Livestock" (as opposed to "pets") under many zoning plans and/or municipal codes
  • Numerous pets
  • Dead bodies, in most countries they have to be buried in dedicated areas
  • Graves unless they've been dug in graveyards
  • Protected species, especially birds of prey


Burglar tools


  • Goods resulting from another crime, such as stolen goods or forged credentials.
  • Radar detectors
  • Headlights with blue dots
  • Blue lights under cars
  • Studded tires
  • Dyed gasoline
  • Food stamps
  • spray paint - possession by minors is forbidden in some places to prevent graffiti
  • 1933 U.S. 20 dollar gold coin
  • Too many animals in one dwelling
  • Too many residents in one dwelling (so, too many children)
  • Too many vehicles (parked on premises, whether operational or not)
  • Refrigerators with doors attached
  • Car keys while intoxicated
  • Home distilling apparatus
  • Ancient finds (Treasure Trove)

Items during a protest

  • Mask - For example, in California no protester may wear a mask. The law was initially created to force members of the Ku Klux Klan to show their faces, but the same code was later invoked to prevent protesters from wearing gas masks.


  • There are often obligations related to possessions, such as paying taxes, and making sure they cause no danger or damage.
  • Even if a possession is legal, carrying it is not always allowed, e.g. alcohol within sight of a football pitch in England, and a weapon in many cases.
  • Plants taller than 8 inches in one's yard are not allowed in Elsmere, Delaware, (Newspaper articles) and grass and certain kinds of plants (termed "weeds") taller than that are proscribed by most municipal codes.

  Results from FactBites:
AllRefer.com - contraband (International Law) - Encyclopedia (331 words)
contraband, in international law, goods necessary or useful in the prosecution of war that a belligerent may lawfully seize from a neutral who is attempting to deliver them to the enemy.
The penalty for carrying contraband goods is the confiscation of the goods and often also of the vessel (see prize).
At the second (1907) of the Hague Conferences a vain attempt to define the classes of contraband was made.
CONTRABAND - LoveToKnow Article on CONTRABAND (3268 words)
35.Conditional contraband is not liable to capture, except when found on board a vessel bound for territory belonging to or occupied by the enemy, or for the armed forces of the enemy, and when it is not to be discharged in an intervening neutral port.
The ships papers are conclusive proof both as to the voyage on which the vessel is engaged and as to the port of discharge of the goods, unless she is found clearly out of the course indicated by her papers, and unable to give adequate reasons to justify such deviation.
41.If a vessel carrying contraband is released, she may be condemned to pay the costs and expenses incurred by the captor in respect of the proceedings in the national prize court and the custody of the ship and cargo during the proceedings.
  More results at FactBites »



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