New plans unveiled in France are seriously tough on those caught pirating movies or music, the BBC reports.

Web users caught illegally sharing copy-protected files on the Internet could be "thrown offline".

A newly-created anti-piracy body created out of a deal agreed by France's music and movie makers and its net firms has been granted wide-ranging powers and can stop people's net access.

The group said the stringent measures were intended to put an end to "casual" piracy rather than tackle large scale pirate groups.

In what is being described as an invasion of privacy, net firms will monitor what their customers are doing and pass on information to the new body.

Those caught file-sharing will get a warning and then may face suspension of internet services or being cut off altogether.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the deal was a "decisive moment for the future of a civilised internet".