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France parliament gives final approval to controversial Internet piracy law

[JURIST] The French parliament gave final approval Tuesday to a new version [text, in French] of a controversial Internet piracy law [text, in French] that would suspend users' Internet access after the third violation. The bill was approved by a joint legislative committee of the National Assembly and the Senate [official websites, in French] by a vote of 258-131. The new version, drafted after portions of it were rejected [judgment, in French; JURIST report] in June by the Constitutional Council [official website, in French], leaves discretion to suspend a user's Internet services to a judge instead of an administrative authority. The opposition Socialists, who brought the challenge against the original bill, vowed to challenge the new version [Reuters report] as well.

Other European governments are also taking steps to combat Internet piracy. Last month, the British Department for Business Innovation and Skills [official website] proposed stricter sanctions [JURIST report] against illegal file-sharing that would include restricting and suspending user Internet access. The proposed regulations would be managed by an administrative agency, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) [official website], which would report to Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson [BBC profile] recommending action against specific users. The measures could be implemented before initial year 2012 projections. While the proposal was welcomed by media industries, it provoked strong rejection among consumers and service providers. The government's consultation period on the subject is now due to close on September 29 after it was extended when changes to the proposal were announced.

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