French Parliament on Thursday rejected a bill that would have required the cutting off internet connections of people caught downloading music illegally, despite two earlier warnings.

The bill called for the setting up of a new state agency to monitor illegal downloading of copyrighted music. According to the bill, the agency would first send a warning e-mail to the offenders, follow it by a warning letter if the offence is repeated, and finally cut off their connection for a year if they are caught a third time.

The ruling party led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as the film and record industries, backed the bill, and it was widely expected to be approved by the French lawmakers.

Though the Senate, France's upper house, approved the measure, it was rejected in a 21 to 15 vote in the National Assembly on Thursday after some members of Sarkozy's majority government joined the socialist opposition in voting against the bill.

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