Proposals have been put before European authorities that could see ISPs adopting a far stricter policy towards internet users who illegally download copyrighted music and movie content.

The Telecom Packet includes the proposal of several laws that would see Europeans suspected of putting movies and music on file-sharing networks thrown off the web.

A Europe-wide "three strikes" law could be made law which would see users banned from the web if they fail to heed three warnings that they are suspected of putting copyrighted works on file-sharing networks.

The proposals also include a bid that would see governments decide which software can be used on the Internet.

They are part of a wider bid to bring regulations governing telecoms in line across the continent.

But campaigners are already rallying to fight the proposals, which they claim trample on personal privacy and turn net suppliers into copyright enforcers.

And they also say that the EU's fight against piracy has turned into "an assault on the freedom of net users", says the Beeb.

"[The amendments] pave the way for the monitoring and filtering of the internet by private companies, exceptional courts and Orwellian technical measures", said Christophe Espern, co-founder of French rights group La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) in a statement.

The Foundation for a Free Internet Infrastructure (FFII) added that the amendments would create a "Soviet internet".

"Tomorrow, popular software applications like Skype or even Firefox might be declared illegal in Europe if they are not certified by an administrative authority", warned Benjamin Henrion, FFII representative in Brussels, in a statement.