TorrentSpy, the file-sharing website, has been ordered to pay $111m (about £56m) in damages to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for breaches of copyright law.
The ruling from a US court comes only weeks after the site was shut down.
TorrentSpy facilitated the sharing of copyright material by hosting links to thousands of music, TV and film files, often without rightsholder's permission. However, no copyrighted material was actually hosted on TorrentSpy's servers.
The presiding judge ordered site operator Justin Bunnell and his associates to pay the maximum $30,000 for "each of the 3,699 infringements shown."
"This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites," said Dan Glickman, chairman of the MPAA.
TorrentSpy was a US-based torrent tracking server that shut up shop on 24 March.
On its website it says that: "The legal climate in the USA for copyright, privacy of search requests and links to torrent files in search results is simply too hostile".
It goes on to say that "It was a wild ride", not to mention a costly one. The fine is one of the largest ever handed out in US copyright history.
The MPAA allegedly paid a hacker $15,000 to procure internal TorrentSpy emails and correspondence.
Reaction to the fine has been varied. On the Shroomery message board, one poster wrote: "Torrent files themselves contain no copyrighted material. On top of that, TorrentSpy actually contained no torrent files, but was just a search engine through and index of torrent files. More or less, it is a Google for torrent files".
A poster in favour of the fine said: "I say 'chalk one up for the good guys' and give out a pre-emptive middle finger to all the losers that think they have the right to steal whatever they are able to".
US District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ordered the site permanently closed. TorrentSpy has appealed the verdict.
TorrentSpy ordered to pay $111m