Popular file-sharing site Gnutella has been inundated with traffic over the past three days with the threat of closure hanging over rival site Napster.

But as quickly as it went down, the peer-to-peer file sharing network was up and running again.

"The site is back up," Gnutella's Web site declared after the service was briefly brought down by a flood of users. "Sorry for the downtime. We want to take this time to thank www.WeGo.Com for their support. We have maxxed their bandwidth. With a flick of a switch WeGo.Com was able to get us back up and running in less then (sic) 1 hour."

A federal judge Wednesday ordered an injunction requiring Napster to shut down its file-sharing of copyrighted material while a lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is pending.

The ruling sparked an exodus of Web traffic to other file-sharing sites, such as Gnutella, Scour, Freenet, Napigator, Spinfrenzy.com and others.

Napster says it has more than 20 million users, and they now are fleeing to alternative sites, seeking MP3 files.

Gnutella and Freenet are services that allow de-centralised, one-to-one file-sharing, eliminating Napster-style, server-based trading.

Users of these services contend, in postings on the various sites, that the lack of a central server will make it more difficult for a shutdown similar to Napster to occur.

Thus far, no lawsuits have targeted these services. Gnutella can be accessed at http://www.gnutella.wego.com.