File storage service, Rapidshare, to shutter in wake of legal woes

Users have until the end of March to save their content

After years of legal trouble, the once-popular online file storage and sharing company Rapidshare is closing up shop.

In a message posted to its website Tuesday, Rapidshare said it will stop active service on March 31. "We strongly recommend all customers to secure their data. After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically," the message said.

It did not say why it is shutting down. However, legal troubles related to copyright infringement have plagued the company for years.

The company has often been spoken of alongside notorious file-sharing services like the Pirate Bay, Megaupload and Isohunt, which all have been hit with legal issues for facilitating copyright infringement.

In its heyday in 2009, the Association of American Publishers considered Rapidshare the largest host site of pirated material. In 2010, six of the largest publishers of educational materials in the U.S. brought a successful copyright infringement lawsuit in Germany against the file-sharing service, obtaining a court ruling that directed the site to stop the sharing of pirated books.

Legal troubles continued for the Switzerland-based service. In September 2013, Germany's Federal Court of Justice noted that online file storage services have a business model that provides an incentive to share copyright-protected material, and ordered Rapidshare to start monitoring incoming links to look for infringing files.

At that time, Rapidshare estimated it had an abuse rate of 5 percent or 6 percent, which corresponded to approximately 27,500 daily infringements, given the daily upload volume of 500,000 files.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but it is likely that the paid use of Rapidshare has dwindled since it reduced access to popular illegal content, said Tim Kuik, director of Dutch antipiracy foundation Brein, in a statement.

Some file storage services depend on illegal material for their income and measures against the spread of copyright-infringing content are costly, Kuik said. If those measures are effective, revenue will drop, which is the reason file storage services will often take weak measures or stop operating altogether, Kuik added.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags RapidshareBreinintellectual propertycopyrightlegal

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?