The French Senate has adopted the "Creation and Internet" law, only 24 hours after the debates began. While intense debates were anticipated, the draft gathered 297 votes in favor and only 15 against.

The draft law, which now has to be voted by the French Parliament, suffered surprisingly few amendments by the Senators, who most notably validated the three-strike scheme, under which infringers could ultimately see their Internet access cut.

An independent administrative authority will be entitled to collect infringers' data from their ISPs as requested by artists' collecting societies.

The owner of any Internet access used for infringing acts will be first sent a warning by email, then another one by registered mail in case of repeated infringement within six months; in case of a third infringement within the next year, the authority will be entitled to have the ISP cut the offender's Internet access for one month to one year, without any possibility to open access from another ISP.

The draft law also imposes conditions on the music industry, by demanding that it abandons digital rights management (DRM) within six months and comes to an agreement on interoperability of music files.

While praising the vote, independent labels body SPPF said in a statement that "only international computing companies and online services hold the key to interoperability."

The draft, which was passed in the Senate Oct. 29, should be discussed at French Parliament early January. The government having declared the "emergency" mode to adopt this law, each assembly can only discuss it once. In the event they did not agree on the same draft, a dedicated commission would design the final law.

According to its opponents, the three-strike scheme might be challenged even if integrated into French law since the European Parliament adopted on Sept. 24 the amendment 138 as part of the telecoms package, under which "no restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users without a prior ruling of the judicial authorities... save when public security is threatened, in which case the ruling may be subsequent."

This argument was dismissed by French minister of Culture Christine Albanel who said the measures considered in the draft law had no impact on the rights and freedoms of end-users.