French lawmakers have once again taken up a bill that would strip internet users of their internet connections if they are caught illegally downloading music or movies three times.
The previous incarnation of the bill was defeated in the lower house of parliament in early April, after a stealth move by a group of Socialist lawmakers opposed to the law.
Support for the law was so high among legislators that most didn't bother to show up for the actual vote, which allowed the Socialists to rush in and vote the bill down at the last minute. Record labels and film companies have high hopes for the proposed law. They had hoped to hold it up to the rest of the world as a shining example of how to protect their profits from the ongoing erosion by illegal downloads.
The law would create a government agency to monitor those who download music and movies illegally. The first two offenses would cause email warnings, followed by a certified letter for the third.
After that, the agency would cut the downloader's internet connection for up to a year.
The Socialists and other lawmakers claim the law will infringe on the civil rights of internet users, and be impossible to enforce.
At times, the hearing grew contentious, with the Socialists shouting over remarks by the Culture Minister at one point.