How much would you pay for a copy of 3D Dream Pinball for the PC? Like eight bucks, maybe? Try $30,000. That's the fine being levied against a woman from Great Britain who distributed the game illegally. Isabella Barwinska of London was ordered to pay that fee by a U.K. court in a test case that could open the floodgates for similar suits against thousands of Britons suspected of sharing games.
The company that makes the game, Topware Interactive, first identified file-sharers with the help of British computer companies, then sent letters demanding 300 pounds in exchange for the shared game. Some users, including Barwinska, chose to fight rather than pay--maybe not the best idea.
One thing is for sure: We hope Barwinska really digs computer pinball--the game got a truly awful 63% rating on Gamerankings.com, so we doubt it's worth tens of thousands of dollars to all but the biggest pinball fans.