French Internet piracy bill rejected

French legislators have rejected legislation to permit cutting off the Internet connections of people who illegally download music and films. The government nevertheless plans to resurrect the bill for another vote later this month.

Backers of the bill – record labels, film companies and law-and-order parliamentarians – couldn’t rally the needed support during in a near empty lower chamber ahead of the Easter holiday. Lawmakers voted 21 to 15 against it.

The measure would have created a government agency to track and punish those who pirate music and film on the Internet. The government, keen to strengthen its hand in the war against piracy, managed to slip the measure into an April 28th special session devoted to initiatives by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party.

The president’s office reaffirmed Sarkozy’s wish to get the law passed “as quickly as possible.” He “does not plan to renounce this whatever the manoeuvres” to try to stop the bill’s passage, a statement said.

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