A British woman has been fined over £16,000 for putting a game file on an online sharing network.

Topware Interactive won damages of £6,086.56 plus costs of £10,000 in this landmark case against the woman who shared a copy of its game, Dream Pinball 3D.

Three similar cases from game file sharers are currently pending in the UK courts.

Topware Interactive send out around 500 letters to UK citizens identified as sharing their game on P2P networks.

Thousands more suspected

"The damages and costs ordered by the Court are significant and should act as a deterrent," said David Gore, a partner at Topware's lawyers Davenport Lyons.

"Taking direct steps against infringers is an important and effective weapon in the battle against online piracy," added Gore , who claims that there are thousands of known suspected file-sharers that could now face legal action.

"This is the first of many."

Open court justice

Becky Hogge, director of the Open Rights Group told the BBC: "An open court process with a full report is certainly preferable to justice of the type being mooted by the government on P2P, where activity takes place behind closed doors through industry action."

"In relation to the orders for release of personal data, it is important that court processes do not become rubberstamps for industry action but retain judicial safeguards and independence," said Ms Hogge.