France passes online piracy law

ISPs must cut off illegal downloaders

The French government has succeeded in getting its Internet privacy law through the National Assembly, reversing an embarrassing defeat in April when too few government supporters turned out to vote during the Easter vacation season.

Asked a second time on Tuesday, a packed Assembly supported the law by 296 votes to 233. France’s upper house, the Senate, is expected to approve the law today.

The law will require French Internet service providers to cut connections to customers who persistently download pirated material. Suspensions will last from three months to a year, with the disconnected surfer obliged to continue paying service charges.

Companies caught by the law may avoid suspension if they adopt security measures to prevent further illegal downloads.

A government agency is to be created to track down suspected offenders and inform ISPs.

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