During the wake of the Megaupload raids in January, millions of bewildered users went looking for alternatives to their beloved site.
Many of these Megaupload refugees ended up as paid customers at RapidShare, but the Swiss-based file-sharing site also attracted free users who mainly appeared to be interested in downloading pirated content.
To prevent the latter group from making RapidShare their new home, the company decided to severely throttle the download speeds of free users to around 30/kbs. These slow download speeds deter pirates, the company argued.
“We are confident that this will make RapidShare very unpopular amongst pirates and thus drive the abusive traffic away,” RapidShare told TorrentFreak in February.
An interesting move to say the least, but also a temporary one. Numerama reported that many free RapidShare users had suddenly noticed a massive increase in download speeds, suggesting that the slowdown for free users had been lifted.
RapidShare confirmed to TorrentFreak that this was done intentionally.
“We can confirm that we have removed all download limits for free users, which is part of a new strategy,” RapidShare CEO Alexandra Zwingli says. According to Zwingli the company will soon release a new set of anti-piracy measures which she describes as “more efficient”.
“Even though the limit was initially introduced to deter piracy, we have since then come to realize that there are more efficient counter measures. Further details will be announced towards the end of 2012,” Zwingli adds.
During the past several years RapidShare has made tremendous efforts to cooperate with copyright holders and limit copyright infringements. The Swiss-based company is trying to position itself as a front-runner when it comes to responsible dealings with copyright infringers.
A good example of this role is the “responsible practices” document RapidShare published earlier this year. The company hopes that these guidelines will eventually become a basis for an industry agreement among the major file-hosting companies.
The above makes it clear that RapidShare is not done yet with barring pirates from its service. However, from this week the counter-measures no longer include slowing down legitimate users.