French government OKs Web piracy law

Three-strikes measure was crucial to legislation

UPDATE: French anti-piracy law rejected

LONDON -- The French National Assembly has voted to adopt the central clause in the anti-piracy Creation and Internet Law, which would allow a state body to cut off copyright infringers' broadband access after two warnings were issued.

The three-strikes scheme proposed by the French government to tackle P2P file-sharing has met with opposition from some politicians and consumer groups, but the vote has been welcomed by parts of the international music business.

"The French government has taken a decisive step to protect artists and creators, setting an example to the rest of the world," said IFPI chairman and chief executive John Kennedy in a statement. "The great thing about this French initiative is that it will result in very sensible and achievable actions by ISPs to reduce piracy in a way that is overwhelmingly preventative and not punitive."

IMPALA, which represents 4,000 independent labels across Europe, also welcomed the vote.

"We see this as a great breakthrough. Independents produce 80% of all new releases and as a result suffer particularly from illegal downloading," said executive chair Helen Smith in a statement. "We feel that this text reaches an excellent compromise between the interests of the fans, the music companies and the ISPs."

Michel Lambot, co-president of PIAS and co-president of IMPALA, added: "This was a bold move by the French, and has brought its fare share of criticism. We hope the law will now be able to go on to be the success that we believed it would and that it will serve as an example that other countries can follow."

France's consumer rights group UFC-Que Choisir has opposed the plan.

Thursday's vote on the three-strikes measure was crucial to the legislation, which will undergo parliamentary scrutiny article by article, beginning April 9, before it is finally passed into law.