The 28 year-old schoolteacher was reportedly one of the worst offenders for sharing music online...

A schoolteacher in France has been fined 10,200 euros (£5,415) for illegally swapping hundreds of music albums on the Internet.

The man must pay the money to copyright companies, in a decision aimed at deterring others, reports the BBC.

Officials said the 28 year-old was one of the worst offenders for sharing music online, making available up to 10,000 songs.

As well as the fine, the man also had his computer confiscated and was ordered to take out newspaper advertisements announcing the verdict and punishment.

The maximum fine for prolific music swapping on the Internet is 300,000 euros, and the threat of a possible three-year jail term.

The court case came as 70 musicians, academics and politicians signed a petition calling for a halt to legal action against people who download music for their own use.

Among those adding their name to calls to adapt copyright laws to embrace developments on the worldwide web are ‘Amelie’ composer Yann Tiersen and singer and political activist Manu Chao.