RapidShare Limits Public Download Traffic to Drive Away Pirates

Swiss-based file-hosting service RapidShare is about to take a drastic step in its ongoing efforts to drive away pirates. Starting later this month free users of the service will be limited to sharing just 1 gigabyte a day while paid users will be allowed to transfer up to 30 gigabytes to the public. RapidShare CEO Alexandra Zwingli says that the new measures will prevent abuse by persistent copyright infringers.

rapidshareIn the aftermath of the Megaupload shutdown, people have been keeping a close eye on other file-hosting services, RapidShare included.

As a company, RapidShare sees itself operating in the “cloud hosting” business, offering a service comparable to the likes of Dropbox. However, since the site’s inception it has struggled with users who use the service to spread copyrighted content to a broad audience.

During the past several years RapidShare has made tremendous efforts to cooperate with copyright holders and limit copyright infringements.

Today, the company announced the most drastic step it has taken thus far. Starting in a few weeks both paid and free RapidShare users will have limits placed on the amount of outbound public traffic they can generate. Once these limits are in place it will no longer be possible to spread copyrighted files to a wide audience.

The new model will restrict the outgoing traffic of free users to just 1 gigabyte per day while paid users will be able to share no more than 30 gigabyte per day. No transfer limits will be imposed on files that are shared with selected groups or contacts, as these files are not available to the public.

“We are constantly looking to improve our services, and at the same time prevent copyright infringements,” says RapidShare CEO Alexandra Zwingli.

“The main challenge of implementing general changes to the service is meeting both goals without compromising the user experience. The new model is a solution that will avoid abuse of RapidShare while ensuring that the average user will not be affected.”

Uploaders who are out to share lots of copyrighted works will no longer be able to use RapidShare, at least realistically. With the new limits in place free users will only be able to share one low quality movie in public, while most competing cyberlockers offer unlimited data traffic.

The new traffic model will go into full effect on November 27. It replaces the download speed restrictions for free users that were imposed earlier this year. These slowdowns were implemented in the aftermath of the Megaupload shutdown when RapidShare reported an uptick in copyright infringements on its services.

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