A US woman has been fined $222,000 (€157,000) for illegally downloading and distributing 24 songs on the internet.

In the civil case, a jury in the US District Court of Minnesota yesterday found that Jammie Thomas infringed copyrighted song recordings.

The jury awarded damages of $9,250 for each of 24 recordings, or a total of $222,000, according to documents.

The case had been taken by a number of music companies including EMI Group's Capitol Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Arista Records, Interscope Records, Warner Bros Records and UMG Recordings.

Media reports described the case as the first such file-sharing lawsuit brought by the music industry to go to trial.

The recording companies sued Ms Thomas in April 2006 after 1,702 music files were traced to a computer tied to her, according to court documents.

Ms Thomas, in documents, denied the allegations of the complaint 'that relate to any allegations that she ever used any (peer-to-peer) network, including Kazaa'.