The French National Assembly is currently debating proposals to crack down on file-sharing on the internet. New laws would see home users who illegally download music and films face fines, and there would be jail terms for those who distribute anti-copyright software. Currently, the law in France is such that users can download as much as they like for a small fee, but the government there wants to delete the amendment that makes this possible.

During the debate, minister Mr Sarkozy said: "Young people must have the right to be able to make private copies, but industrial illegal downloading is theft."

Opponent Christine Boutin, a member of the UMP majority, said the government tactics would simply "push internet users to piracy".

A vote on the legislation is expected to be held on Wednesday 15 March.