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Launched by Vancouver's Gary Fung in 2003, isoHunt has become a poster child for the portrayal of Canada as a safe harbour for copyright pirates.

JOHN LEHMANN/JOHN LEHMANN/GLOBE AND MAIL

A Vancouver resident has agreed to shut down his popular downloading website and pay a $110-million fine after settling a long legal fight with the Motion Picture Association of America.

Gary Fung ran isohunt.com, a search engine for BitTorrent files, which helped users find virtually every type of copyrighted material, including music, movies, computer software, ebooks and pornography.

As of Friday, the site stated it linked to 13.7 million active BitTorrent files with 51 million users either uploading or download them.

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According to Alexa.com, it ranked as the 423rd top site on the web for global traffic and 167th in Canada.

On his blog, Fung said he was "sad to see my baby go."

"But I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. Ten-and-a-half years of isoHunt has been a long journey by any business definition, and forever in Internet startup time. It started as a programming hobby in my university days that has become so, so much more," Fung wrote.

"It's been a learning experience beyond what I imagined. I've done the best I could pushing the social benefits of BitTorrent and file sharing, the searching and sharing of culture itself, but it's time for me to move on to new software ideas and projects."

The MPAA, which represents Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios and Warner Bros., originally launched its legal challenge of isoHunt in 2006.

It said in a statement that the settlement was "a major step forward in realizing the enormous potential of the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce and innovation."

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