Politicians in France have rejected a bill proposing that people caught downloading music illegally three times should be cut off from the internet.
An amended version of the bill will go before parliament in the next few weeks.
The legislation was backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and it would have set a tough global precedent in cracking down on internet piracy.
The system would followed the three strikes method: Contacting illegal file-sharers by e-mail, then by letter, and finally by cutting off connection for a year.
It was backed by both the film and record industries which have been calling for stricter laws as revenues have fallen.
However consumer groups warned that the wrong people could be punished under the scheme if hackers hijacked a computers' identity, and that the scheme amounted to state surveillance.
Although the legislation was approved by the Senate it was defeated in a vote of the National Assembly.
Two members of Mr Sarkozy's majority government joined the socialist opposition in voting against the bill, in a protest to an amendment which would have made users who had been banned, continue to pay their internet bills.
The government can now re-introduce the legislation to parliament later this year.
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