French commercial networks TF1 and M6, pay TV network Canal Plus and pubcaster France Televisions have joined forces with the country's top professional film and television associations to fight the i

PARIS (The Hollywood Reporter) -- French commercial networks TF1 and M6, pay TV network Canal Plus and pubcaster France Televisions have joined forces with the country's top professional film and television associations to fight the illegal downloading of films via the Internet, the networks said Jan. 12.

The professional bodies include French directors, screenwriters and producers association ARP; the Liaison Bureau of Cinema Industries and Liaison Bureau of Cinema Organizations; and the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers.

Besides educating the public about the effects of piracy and developing new products that can be legally downloaded from the Internet, the anti-piracy group said it will lobby lawmakers to introduce more stringent laws, forcing Internet service providers to cut services to alleged serious offenders.

The organizations will also work toward establishing rules to differentiate between individual delinquent customers and cinema professionals -- or those close to the industry -- who are actively involved in the illegal copying of films as a result of their proximity to the film production process, a spokesman for France Televisions said.

The television companies' move to join the battle against piracy follows a request by state film-funding body Centre National de la Cinematographie in November for film and audiovisual professionals to propose concrete measures to combat the problem.

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