The new system is the result of a three-way pact hashed out by Internet service providers, the entertainment industry and the French government.

The “Memorandum of Understanding” calls for those suspected of film, TV or music piracy to receive warning messages about their illicit actions, thus giving them a chance to renounce their piracy ways. But if the recipients ignore the warnings, they’ll then find themselves disconnected from the online world, according to Reuters.

Although it’s the threat of losing Net access that’s making headlines, the concept of issuing a warning before taking any action against copyright perps is what makes this system different from other methods used to discourage infringing activities. The most common method used by entertainment companies throughout the world is to sue first, ask questions later, and never, ever warn anyone in advance that lawyers are readying to pounce.

Deciding who has been naughty or nice will be left up to an independent authority, which in turn will be supervised by a judge.

In return for digitally circumcising copyright bandits, the pact also calls for entertainment companies to make a greater effort in putting their works online and finding ways to make copyrighted content compatible across multiple platforms. Meanwhile, ISPs pledge to increase efforts to identify and prevent copyrighted materials from traversing their networks.

“This is the single most important initiative to help win the war on online piracy that we have seen so far,” said John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).