updated 2/14/2005 9:23:10 PM ET 2005-02-15T02:23:10

Hollywood movie studios have settled a copyright lawsuit against a Web site operator they say had helped people find pirated copies of films for download.

The Web site, LokiTorrent.com, hosted "torrents," or file markers used by online file-swapping programs like BitTorrent to comb the Internet for other computer users sharing a given file.

Edward Webber, who ran the site, agreed to pay a "substantial" fine to settle the lawsuit and agreed to turn over copies of his computer server logs and data, the Motion Picture Association of America said Thursday.

Those records might prove to be even more valuable to the trade group as a way to ferret out individual computer users who had visited the site, which had more than 750,000 registered users downloading thousands of files, said John Malcolm, head of the MPAA's antipiracy division.

The MPAA also took over the LokiTorrent.com domain name and posted a warning against trading movie files online with the slogan "You can click, but you can't hide."

The settlement is the first announced by the MPAA following an unspecified number of lawsuits filed by Hollywood studios in December against operators of more than 100 computer servers in the United States and Europe.

The MPAA also announced a second round of litigation against U.S. sites that host indexes for BitTorrent, eDonkey and DirectConnect and against individual computer users, but Malcolm declined to identify who the defendants are or how many.

Calls to Webber's attorney were not immediately returned Friday.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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