updated 01:20 pm EDT, Tue September 15, 2009
Could impose harsh measures on suspects
The French government has taken one step further towards enacting a controversial piece of Internet piracy legislation, says the Associated Press. A bill today passed through the National Assembly, having already gained approval from the Senate in July. Only one step remains before it becomes law, that being a third approval by a committee bridging both houses of parliament.
The bill takes a strict stance towards people accused of pirating music, movies and other digital media. If an alleged perpetrator persists in activity after e-mail warnings and a registered letter, they may then have their Internet connection cut off for up to a year, and/or face other penalities such as prison time or fines up to €300,000. The law is backed by music and movie companies, worried about preserving their current industries; it is opposed by civil liberty supporters, who say for instance that banning someone from the Internet shuts them off from an essential service.
Before amendments, the legislation was at one point considered unconstitutional because of a lack of oversight. Similar measures have been proposed in Britain.