Five years ago, Gary Fung, 25, set up a small website ( in his Richmond, B.C., home to let visitors search for files through a then-emerging file-sharing system called BitTorrent.

What started as a hobby project to help Fung improve his programming skills has grown into one of the largest file-sharing websites on the Internet — with five paid staff members and growing advertising revenues — and has made Fung the target of a major lawsuit launched by the Hollywood film industry.

Fung first heard from the Motion Picture Association of America — or MPAA — more than three years ago, when the association’s lawyers wrote him demanding copyrighted movies be taken down immediately. The MPAA launched a lawsuit in a U.S. court in 2006.


Fung says he intends to fight the lawsuit. Other websites have collapsed before their legal cases were resolved.