In the first US trial to challenge illegal music downloads, a single mother from Minnesota has been ordered to pay more than $220,000 dollars for sharing 24 songs online.

Jammie Thomas, 30, was ordered to pay a $9250 fine for each of 24 shared songs cited in the case, including Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills".

She has previously turned down an offer to pay a few thousands dollars in fines and took the case to court, saying she "wrongfully targeted" by SafeNet, a contractor employed by the recording industry to "patrol" the Internet for copyrighted material.

A jury took 5 hours to decide that evidence Thomas was guilty of copyright infringement. In addition to the fine, her legal coasts are estimated to be $60,000.

"This does send a message, I hope, that downloading and distributing our recordings is not OK", Richard Gabriel, the lead attorney for the music companies, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.