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Few examples of technology-related federal legislation have stirred up more controversy in recent years than the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and now the European Union is considering a similar, yet far more sweeping act—one that could extend to virtually all kinds of intellectual property protections—which critics describe as “nuclear weapons of IP law enforcement.” A coalition of over 50 civil liberties groups is opposing draft legislation titled the European Union Directive for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. The draft legislation will be considered for passage into law throughout Europe by the European Plenary March 8th through 11th.

The provisions within the directive have produced scathing attacks from the civil liberties groups opposing it. For example, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted material opposing it under the title “European Union Considers Warped Intellectual Property Directive.”

The directive was originally intended to organize European Union member states’ existing laws against large-scale commercial counterfeiting. “But through EU back-room deals, the directive’s scope has been extended to any infringement—including all minor, unintentional, and non-commercial infringements such as P2P file-sharing,” claims an advisory from IP Justice. The full text of the directive is available online.

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