First debates on the long awaited "Creation and Internet" draft law have kicked off at the French Senate.

The draft law was inspired by a mission led at the end of 2007 by Denis Olivennes, former CEO of leading French entertainment retailer Fnac, largely supported by the music and movie industries.

Among its main measures is the implementation of a three-strike scheme, under which infringers could ultimately see their Internet access cut. This measure is likely to be challenged, especially 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."

While this amendment was seen as a blow to the three-strike scheme by its opponents, the 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.

The French recording industry is calling for the adoption of the draft law with more unity than three years ago. In 2005 and 2006, discussions of a draft law on copyright known as DADVSI had generated months of heated debates at French assemblies and divided the music industry, notably with artists organizations Adami and Spedidam supporting a global license scheme on the Internet.

Debates on the draft law are scheduled at French Senate until Nov. 7 at the latest; they began Oct. 29.

The draft should then 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 case they would not agree on the same draft, a dedicated commission would design the final law.