French lawmakers have rejected a bill which proposed that people caught downloading music illegally three times should be cut off from the internet. The so-called three strikes legislation, backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, was actually passed by the French parliament last week and ratified by the senate this morning, but to everyone's surprise it didn't make it through the National Assembly with 21 votes against and 15 votes in favor.

Few people showed up to take part in the vote apparently assuming it was a foregone conclusion. According to reports, however, fifteen Socialists arrived at the last minute to cast their votes and defeat the law. Two members of Sarkozy's majority government even joined the opposition in protest to an amendment which would have made users who had been banned for up to twelve months to continue paying their internet bills.

The government nevertheless played down the bill's defeat saying an amended version, which will remove this last clause, would be put before parliament in the coming weeks. Unsurprisingly, the RIAA is pushing for a similar implementation in the United States with the collaboration of internet service providers across the nation.