French lawmakers finally rejected the recently proposed anti-piracy bill that would punish illegal downloaders by cutting off their Internet access.
The bill had initially passed
the lower house of parliament last week. However, few lawmakers appeared for Thursday's vote to finalize the measure. As a result, when the vote was held , the bill was rejected by a vote of 21-15.
The new "internet law" would allow a state agency to cut off internet access for a year to those caught downloading pirated works more than twice.
It would have created the world's first government agency to track and punish those who steal music and film on the Internet.
Supporters of the bill hope the threat of being cut off will wean web users away from pirated films and music, and towards fledgling legal video and music download sites.
Critics say it will be too tough to apply and encroaches on freedoms.