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French Senate passes law against Internet piracy

FRANCE'S Senate has approved a bill allowing judges to cut off Internet connections of users who download illegally.

The Senate voted 189-142 late yesterday for the bill, which now goes back to the lower house of parliament for final passage.

The hotly contested bill was watered down from an earlier version, which would have allowed a new government agency to cut off Internet connections of those who repeatedly download material illegally.

Now the bill says such a decision must be left to a judge. Violators can also face up to three years in prison.

President Nicolas Sarkozy had pressed for the law to attack illegal downloads that deprive artists of remuneration for their works. Internet privacy advocates oppose it.


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