RapidShare Slows Downloads to Prevent Piracy

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After Megaupload got busted by an anti-terror squad in January and another 16 domains got slammed by the feds in February, several file sharing sites decided to scale back or shut down their operations to prevent similar downfalls.

Remember that BitTorrent behemoth BTjunkie signed off the web permanently and The Pirate Bay plans on deleting BitTorrents starting Feb. 29, to transition to a magnet link setup.

Now, it looks like RapidShare will also follow suit, TorrentFreak reports.

A lot of file hosters have moved to RapidShare's service, but the site has responded by slowing down download speed for non-paying users -- as a means of pushing out potential pirates.

The speeds have been cut to 30 kbs -- and some think that RapidShare is trying to capitalize off of MegaUpload's collapse.

The going theory is that people will become so frustrated with the slow, free service that they'd be driven to subscribe to the site's faster, premium membership.

Not so, says RapidShare. The company tells TorrentFreak that the shift is a means of preventing piracy.

The company says:

"RapidShare has been faced with a severe increase in free user traffic and unfortunately also in the amount of abuse of our service ever since, suggesting that quite a few copyright infringers have chosen RapidShare as their new hoster of choice for their illegal activities. We have thus decided to take a painful yet effective step: to reduce the download speed for free users. We are confident that this will make RapidShare very unpopular amongst pirates and thus drive the abusive traffic away."

But what about premium users who want to make their original content readily available to everyone?

RapidShare says that this legal material can be downloaded without a hitch -- at normal speeds -- to non-paying users.

RapidShare says that most pirates don't want to give out identifying info, because they don't want to be tracked.

So RapidShare hopes that making people pay for quick download time -- which will link their file-sharing activities to personal information -- will push pirates away.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.


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