Senators have voted through the 'Hadopi 2' law, which will allow judges to impose punishments on those found to have made illegal downloads.
The law is a complement to the Hadopi (the internet watchdog) 1 law, setting up a new body for Internet piracy. It was originally proposed that this law would allow for the Hadopi body itself to cut off people's internet access as a punishment but this was ruled unconstitutional.
Under the new law, Hadopi would merely issue two warnings â€“ by email and then recorded delivery post. Details of repeat offenders would be passed to a judge, who would have an armoury of sanctions available including cutting net access, heavy fines and even prison sentences.
The owner of an internet account which is used by someone else, unknown to them, to make illegal downloads, could also face a smaller fine and one-month of cut access for being negligent. A fine is also set out for someone who tries to get around a ban by changing to another Internet service provider.
The law will now go to the National Assembly on July 20th.