The French government and music industry is insisting that the "Internet and Creation" law, which was initiated last year by President Sarkozy and includes provisions against online piracy, can go ahead despite a European Parliament vote defending the freedom of Internet users.

The law is notably designed to circumvent online piracy through a "three-strike" scheme that would see persistent copyright offenders lose their Internet connection through the decision of an administrative body.

While the draft law still has not been debated in French assemblies, its measures are questioned by an amendment adopted on Sept. 24 by the European Parliament. The amendment 138, which is part of the telecoms package, states that "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 vote is being described as the end of the three-strike scheme by its opponents. European MEP Guy Bono, who carried the amendment, stated on his blog, "European Parliament said no to the 'riposte graduee' [three-strike scheme] as advocated in France."

The "Internet and creation" law is still valid, retorted French minister of culture Christine Albanel in a statement, saying that "the measures considered in the draft law have no impact on the rights and freedoms of end-users." Albanel also recalled that the amendment has been adopted by the European Parliament in first reading only and believes it is highly unlikely to remain in the final text of law.

In a statement today (Sept. 26), the authors and composers collecting rights body Sacem said it was satisfied with the French governement's continued support for the draft law.

"Sacem is satisfied with this statement that once again expresses the government's firm will to defend creators' rights and see the law on 'Creation and the Internet' adopted as soon as possible," said the rights body.

"The stakes are decisive both for creation and for the remuneration of authors, composers and music publishers. This is also true for the entire music business, in a context that is particularly difficult and threatening for the future of culture in our country."

In a statement issued yesterday (Sept. 25), French ruling party UMP called the government to have the "Internet and creation" draft law examined by the French Parliament in emergency. While the law was initially expected to be effective in Jan. 2009, debates have not even started yet, allegedly due to an important amount of reforms French Parliament have to deal with.

The law is supported by a large part of the French music industry, notably with labels’ bodies SNEP and UPFI, Sacem and Universal Music France President Pascal Negre each reasserting their support in separate press releases in the past two days.