France’s culture minister has defended a new bill clamping down on Internet piracy that is backed by music artists but opposed by consumer groups. The proposed “creation and Internet law” has stirred controversy over a provision allowing a state agency to cut off Internet access for up to a year to those caught illegally downloading more than twice. Culture Minister Christine Albanel argued the punishment was not too harsh and noted that it replaced current provisions that call for up to three years in prison and E300,000 in fines.
The bill “does not aim to eradicate completely the mass phenomenon that is piracy of cultural products on the web,” said Albanel. “It aims rather to create awareness, to shape a new mindset among Internet users with regard to cultural diversity and the economic and legal conditions necessary to preserve it.”