French lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow authorities to cut illegal downloaders off from the worldwide web, AFP reports. One of the toughest ever drafted in the global fight against internet piracy, the bill has drawn attention from across the world as countries debate how to deal with the illegal downloading of films, music, and computer games. The revamped bill passed through France’s National Assembly after 285 deputies backed it, with 225 voting against. It will now go to a parliamentary commission before a final vote by both senators and deputies, expected to be a formality. Championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and singer-turned-first lady Carla Bruni, the original anti-piracy law was adopted in May after a stormy parliament battle, but was blocked in June by France’s top legal authority. The Constitutional Council objected to a key provision that gave a new state agency the power to shut down web access for up to a year for those who download music and films illegally. Opponents said it failed to give alleged pirates enough recourse to challenge accusations; the new bill shifts the final decision on cutting off web users from the state agency to the courts. On the third strike, a judge would hand down an internet ban or impose a fine of up to 300,000 euros or a two-year jail sentence…

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