French lawmakers approve 3-strikes bill

France’s National Assembly has approved a bill which requires ISPs to disconnect users who have been caught three times illegally downloading copyright files.

The “Creation and Internet” bill, as it is called, was passed by a vote of 296 to 233 by the lower house and will go before the Senate for final approval on Wednesday, BBC News reported.

The bill, backed by President Sarkozy, was surprisingly voted down when it first went to the assembly a month ago.

The legislation provides for the establishment of a new state agency that would first send illegal file-sharers two warnings and then cut off their connection for a year if they were caught a third time.

The legislation, which divided France’s film-makers, musicians and artists, was welcomed by global music industry body IFPI, reported.

But internet advocacy group La Quadrature du Net said the bill had won a relatively narrow victory given the size of the government majority.

It said the bill was “legally dead” because it breached “fundamental principles of French and European law, including the respect of a fair trial, principle of proportionality and separation of powers.”

The EU parliament last week rejected a telecom reform package because of a clause supporting the French three-strikes legislation.