Rapidshare To Close After 13 Years
It’s the end of an era for some, as long time file sharing RapidShare are choosing to close their doors for the last time next month. The venerable service is to go offline after serving users with content for over 13 years, with the site advising users to get their affairs in order by March 31st.
Historically RapidShare has often been cited as a menace due to the fact it made content available that was either riddled with viruses, or, and this was the biggest complaint, in breach of copyright law. In fact the RIAA branded it as a ‘rogue website’ in 2010 for its contribution to piracy.
Once upon a time, the site was one of the most popular online, being hailed as a haven for file sharing during its many years of service by some, and as a ‘notorious market’ for illegal files by the US government. Highlights of RapidShare’s history include a landmark case again in 2010, where a legal batttle saw a ruling in the site’s favor, holding uploaders responsible for content as opposed to the site.
However, since then the ruling has seemingly been overturned crackdowns on streaming, file sharing and torrent sites almost certainly stem from a trend of blaming the site as opposed to its users for illegal content. We’ve seen The Pirate bay and Megaupload both come under fire, with the latter closing down just like RapidShare is soon to do.
The fight still rages on, the law continues to stay stagnant, and as much as Rapidshare tried to rebrand themselves as a premium cloud storage service of late, the site’s fate was sealed by the loss of a free upload feature and competition from free services such as Google Drive once cloud computing began to take off.
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It’s become very obvious now that nothing online is ever going to be the same as it was prior to 2010, everything is going to change, or has already. Net neutrality disputes, anti-copyright movements and government involvement with the internet has wiped out the sense of freedom that RapidShare once embodied.
All is not lost though. The Pirate Bay recently resurrected itself following a police raid, and various ways to circumvent ISP blocks on websites in the UK still exist. Although the files themselves are illegal, it’s still a matter of debate that providing hosting for files should be enough to send a site down.
Sadly for RapidShare, one of the first one click download services of its kind, there just isn’t enough time left. So long old friend.