France clashes with EU over piracy effort

French Senate approves 'three strikes' law

BRUSSELS -- France is on a collision course with the EU after the French Senate overwhelmingly voted for an Internet piracy law that directly contradicts European Parliament legislation.

The Senate's "three strikes" or "graduated response" law would cut off access to the Internet to Web surfers who repeatedly download copyrighted films, music or video games without paying.

But the French legislation clashes with an amendment agreed to by Euro-MPs in September that outlaws Internet cutoff.

The parliament amendment, part of a wider telecoms bill, has since been upheld by the European Commission. Indeed, commission president Jose Manuel Barroso rebuffed a personal appeal by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who demanded that the parliament amendment be rejected on the basis that it gets in the way of the fight against piracy.