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Abstract

In an attempt to facilitate a single European marketplace, EU directives tried to amend its laws and regulations to accommodate the ever-advancing technology of the Internet. In tackling the issues, the authors discuss different layers of the Internet as laying the foundation for further analysis. Digital data networks are virtual networks; they are composed of a series of unrelated networks with each potentially owned and operated by different person. While the physical layers of such networks are important, the focus of this article is on the data layer: the layer that packages the data in a very efficient manner. This paper addresses different issues of intellectual property rights the EU faces, subject to relevant treaties and agreements, as materials transmitted via the digital superhighway. They include the European Software Directive, Copyright Directives, European Harmonisation Efforts and Converging Technologies; Database Directives; Consumer Protection, etc. The authors hope their analogy of a "cargo paradigm" would be helpful in assisting regulators, legislators and courts cut through the confusion concerning liabilities for the content of information on a European digital superhighway.