Woman fined £16,000 for sharing video game over internet

LONDON - A woman has been ordered to pay out £16,000 for illegally sharing computer games in one of the first cases of its kind in the UK.

The woman, who has not been named, is among the first to be taken to court in Britain by computer game manufacturers seeking to protect their copyright.

She was caught after a swoop on Britons who illegally share games and films over the internet, the prosecuting London law firm Davenport Lyons has said.

The Patents County Court in London ordered that the woman pay damages of £6,086.56 and combined costs of £10,000 to Topware Interactive. The company owns computer game Dream Pinball 3D.

The prosecution could pave the way for other games, music and film companies to claim millions of pounds in damages from file sharers.

It is estimated that 6m people are engaged in illegal file-sharing each year.

The High Court has ordered internet service providers to release several thousand names and addresses of suspected filesharers.

David Gore, a partner at Davenport Lyons who is representing TopWare, said the company was not just trying to score a series of payouts.

"These people have uploaded games and made them available to tens of thousands of people.

"What they are trying to do is deter people from illegally filesharing their games. This is not a massive revenue-generating exercise."