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Parliament rejects bill on illegal downloading

Article published on the 2009-04-09 Latest update 2009-04-09 12:12 TU

French National Assembly(Photo : <a href="">Assemblée nationale</a>)

French National Assembly
(Photo : Assemblée nationale)

In a shock vote on Thursday afternoon, the French parliament rejected a bill on the "protection of artistic work on the internet". The legislation was designed to punish illegal downloading.

The law would have removed internet access from offenders. The punishment, which President Nicolas Sarkozy had hoped to see included, became the sticking point for deputies.

The fact that offenders would have been obliged to pay their subscription while their connection was cut off was deemed a "double punishment" by opponents of the bill.

The vote, which was carried out bya show of hands, was welcomed by left-wing members of parliament. A number of MPs from the ruling UMP party of President Nicolas Sarkozy were absent for the vote, which had been passed previously by the Senate.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, formerly of the UMP, voted against the bill and said that "once again, we observe the amateurism of the government and of the Minister for Culture".

The vote was defeated 21 against and 15 for.

The government now has a choice between abondoning the bill or trying to pass a revised version without the "double punishment" clause.