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France lower house approves amended internet piracy bill

[JURIST] The French National Assembly [official website, in French] on Tuesday approved an amended version of a controversial internet piracy bill [materials, in French] that would cut off internet access for those who repeatedly illegally download copyrighted material by a vote of 296 to 233. The bill, which was defeated last month when only a few lawmakers were present to vote after it won preliminary parliamentary approval [JURIST reports], is supported by French President Nicholas Sarkozy [official website, in French]. The bill proposes a "three strikes" plan in which any internet user tagged by an ISP as downloading the material would initially receive two warnings, followed by up to a one-year ban for the third offense. Users would be responsible for controlling the use of their own connections, and the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet [materials, in French], referred to as "Hadopi" by local media, would use discretion in determining whether to ban offending users. The bill will go before the Senate [official website, in French] on Wednesday, where it is expected to be approved [AP report].

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry [organization website], representing the worldwide recording industry, has welcomed the legislation [press release], while French consumer interest group UFC-Que Choisir [advocacy website, in French] has denounced it [press release, in French] as ineffective. The assembly began considering the bill [JURIST report] in March after it passed through the French senate in October 2008.

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