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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 11:52 GMT
French MPs debate file-share law
Compact disc, Eyewire
The French government opposes calls for a download licence fee
Members of France's National Assembly have begun debating government proposals to crack down on file-sharing on the internet.

The new draft would see fines for home users who illegally download music and films, as well jail sentences for those who distribute anti-copyright software.

Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy said file-sharing was "theft".

The government wants to delete an amendment which lets users download as much as they like for a small fee.

In the original plans, the government suggested fines of 300,000 euros (205,000) and imprisonment for home users.

But left-wing opponents, joined by dissenting members of UMP majority, had their amendment passed last December.

Lower fines

During the debate, minister Mr Sarkozy said: "Young people must have the right to be able to make private copies, but industrial illegal downloading is theft."

Opponent Christine Boutin, a member of the UMP majority, said the government tactics would simply "push internet users to piracy".

A vote on the legislation is expected to be held on Wednesday 15 March.

The government has toned down its plans, with the typical penalty for home users likely to be between 38-150 euros (26-102).

The proposed law put before the National Assembly will strengthen the legal status of digital rights management (DRM), the process by which copying of films or music can be curtailed, or users prevented from playing material from other parts of the world.

The move would protect DRM from legal challenges to ensure the right of consumers to copy material, but a panel would ensure DRM still allowed limited private copying.

New debate for French piracy law
08 Mar 06 |  Technology

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