[BBC NEWS] Europe votes on anti-piracy laws

France is about to enact laws that penalise persistent file-sharers

Europeans suspected of putting movies and music on file-sharing networks could be thrown off the web under proposals before Brussels.

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Campaigners say the laws trample on personal privacy and turn net suppliers into copyright enforcers.

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"[The amendments] pave the way for the monitoring and filtering of the internet by private companies, exceptional courts and Orwellian technical measures," said Christophe Espern, co-founder of French rights group La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) in a statement.

The UK's Open Rights Group said the laws would be "disproportionate and ineffective".

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MEP Malcolm Harbour, rapporteur for users rights and the e-privacy directive who has helped oversee the Telecoms Package, challenged the rights groups view of the amendments.

"The intention of the directive is nothing like direction they are claiming," he said.

The reforms to the package would likely improve rights for consumers, he said adding that there was no mention of specific anti-piracy measures in the Package.

It is not clear yet whether the amendments will be accepted in full. In April 2008 European politicians voted against similar proposals that would have seen suspected file-sharers thrown off the net.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7492907.stm