Forty-seven organisations have joined forces to launch the Campaign for an Open Digital Environment (CODE), which aims to raise awareness of the problems the draft legislation will cause.
They say the legislation is too broad and threatens civil liberties, innovation, and competition policy.
"If this proposal becomes a reality, major companies from abroad can use 'intellectual property' (IP) regulations to gain control over the lives of ordinary European citizens and threaten digital freedoms," said Andy Müller-Maguhn, a board member of European Digital Rights, one of the CODE campaign's signatories.
The group has written a letter to the European Union, urging rejection of the proposal and expressing particular concern over Article 9 and Article 21.
Article 9 would give intellectual property holders broad subpoena powers to obtain personal information about any EU citizen allegedly connected to an infringement.
Similar subpoena powers created by the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act are abused by the Recording Industry Association of America to obtain personal information about thousands of users of file-sharing software. The proposed IP Enforcement Directive would extend the ability to abuse this power to Europe.
It would also forbid Europeans from removing or deactivating Radio Frequency (RFID) tags embedded in clothing and other consumer devices.
"One can think of the EU IP Enforcement Directive as the 'DMCA on steroids' said Robin D. Gross, Executive Director of IP Justice, and an intellectual property attorney.
Members of CODE include three British organisations – the Campaign for Digital Rights (CDR), Cyber-Rights and Cyber-Liberties, and the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR).
Campaign for an Open Digital Environment (CODE)
The CODE campaign is an international coalition of civil liberties groups and consumer rights initiatives to protect the public's rights, innovation, and competition against the proposed European Union Directive on Intellectual Property Enforcement.
FIPR analysis of draft IPR Enforcement Directive
31 July 2003