French parliamentarians have given the go ahead for tough new laws against internet piracy.
The proposed legislation will set up an agency to police the illegal downloading of films and music and allow authorities to block internet access to offenders for up to a year.
An alliance of eight UK creative organisations and five trade unions is calling for similar measures to force ISPs to monitor users and ban those caught sharing content illegally.
The French draft legislation is widely expected to be approved in a final vote by the senate today, reports the Financial Times.
If approved, the legislation will cut out the French courts, which could be controversial because according to the European Parliament only the judiciary can take the decision to cut off internet access to users.
French consumer groups have objected to the creation of a non-judicial body with the power to police the internet, saying it would threaten civil liberties.
The proposed French legislation could set an important precedent for anti-piracy groups in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, if it is approved and survives legal challenges from those it targets.