On Thursday April 9, the French National Assembly rejected an Internet piracy bill that punished repeat illegal downloaders. The bill won preliminary parliamentary approval but was eventually defeated by a vote of 21-15. Under the bill, a first time offense of downloading illegal material would be punished by a warning and a second time offense would be punished by up to a one-year ban. The bill was supported by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the recording industry and opposed by the UFC-Que Choisir, a French consumer interest group.
Other nations in Europe have been struggling with balancing the protection of copyright materials and privacy concerns. In January 2008, the European Court of Justice found that telecommunication companies in Spain did not have to share the identities of Internet users suspected of illegal file sharing. A Belgium court in June 2007, on the other hand, ordered a file sharing website to filter users found sharing copyrighted material.
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