Despite increasing pressure from organisations, including the British Phonographic Industry in the UK, EU officials have today rejected plans that would see internet users banned by the ISPs if they are caught illegally downloading copyrighted material.

In a narrow call, MEPs today voted down calls to bring the anti-piracy measures into being across Europe.

The plans formed part of a wide-ranging report on creative industries called the Bono Report on the Cultural Industries.

It was written for the European parliament by French MEP Guy Bono.

MEPs decided that net bans conflict with "civil liberties and human rights".

A spokeswoman for the European Parliament told the BBC after the vote: "The vote shows that MEPs want to strike a balance between the interests of rights holders and those of consumers, and that big measures like cutting off internet access shouldn't be used".

Politicians have called for an amendment to be added to the report so to "avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of internet access".

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents Europe's music industry, has hit back saying that the amendment was "badly drafted" and contradicted the rest of the report.

"We look forward to a full discussion in the European Parliament in the coming months on how best to address copyright theft online", it added.

The BBC adds that the MEPs' vote has no legal force and leaves national governments free to implement their own anti-piracy plans.