updated 12/20/2004 4:36:57 PM ET 2004-12-20T21:36:57

One of the Web's most popular file-sharing sites has shut down less than a week after Hollywood announced a flurry of lawsuits against operators of such Internet servers.

A note posted on Suprnova.org, which facilitated sharing among users of the BitTorrent program, said the site was "closing down for good." The collection of links to downloadable files, including music, movies and books, was taken down.

"We are very sorry for this, but there was no other way, we have tried everything," the statement said.

Reached via Suprnova.org's chat room, the site's anonymous operator refused to comment on why it had shut down.

Last week, movie studios sued more than 100 operators of U.S. and European sites that host BitTorrent links but did not name the defendants.

Suprnova.org was the most popular repository for links to files that could be downloaded using the BitTorrent program.

Another site that carried BitTorrent links, N4p.com, said it had shut down due to a civil complaint that cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Torrentbits.org and Phoenix-torrents.com also shut down.

Still, there were plenty of sites with BitTorrent links alive on Monday, including a "mirror," or copy, of Suprnova.org.

BitTorrent has grown quickly in popularity this year, and now accounts for more than a third of all traffic on the Internet, according to the research company Cachelogic.

The program owes its popularity in part to its immunity to industry attempts to confound it with bogus decoy files, which have swamped some other networks. BitTorrent also allows for efficient and speedy downloads.

The Motion Picture Association of America last week said it is planning similar action against operators of servers that direct data for the DirectConnect and eDonkey file-swapping services.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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