In common with BitTorrent and other file-sharing services, Rapidshare has steadily increased its user base in recent years. The site has hundreds of millions of visitors each month and is listed among the 50 most-used sites on the Internet.
Like most file-hosting services, Rapidshare is hosting a wide range of music, movies and music files that are distributed without the consent of the rightsholders. This has dragged the company’s bosses into several lawsuits with copyright holders already, most recently they were ordered to proactively filter 148 book titles to avoid jail time and huge fines.
Although it is no secret that many people use Rapidshare to distribute copyrighted content, the site’s users have remained largely untouched until recently. Over the last few weeks, however, reports are coming in from users who’ve had their accounts terminated for uploading copyrighted files.
From the emails being sent out, it is clear that Rapidshare is taking a more aggressive stance towards ‘infringing’ users. Additional information from inside Rapidshare confirms that distributers of copyrighted material are indeed targeted more that before.
There is little doubt that this active termination policy is the result of ever-increasing pressure from copyright holders. At the same time, these actions might very well be the end of Rapidshare’s limitless expansion, as users will quickly move over to competing file-hosting services upon hearing this news.
Update: In addition to real terminations there have been reports of scam emails. However, we have additional information which proves without a doubt that Rapidhare is indeed targeting distributors of copyrighted material more aggressively by terminating their accounts. We will publish this in the coming days. We removed the quotes from the email we posted here earlier to avoid confusion.
Update: A Rapidshare spokesperson just confirmed that they are indeed terminating accounts of copyright infringers. “I can confirm that we reserve the right to terminate the accounts of users that do not act according to our terms and conditions,” we were told.
Update: To clarify what happened. Last week we received confidential information that Rapidshare will take on a new direction (this info comes from Rapidshare). Among other things, it included information that Rapidshare was going to target infringers more aggressively. Then, yesterday we were sent a termination email by a reader.
We assumed that this was connected to the information we received earlier and posted this article. As it turns out, we cannot verify if this email is the scam one or the legit one, but Rapidshare says that the email we posted here earlier was fake.
The email has been removed by us because it looked similar to the fake emails. But, there is no doubt that Rapidshare is taking a more aggressive approach towards copyright infringers. More on this later.
Update: There is no doubt that the email we posted here earlier was fake. The bit about Rapidshare storing privacy sensitive information in its users for “legal reasons” is not true. We apologize to Rapidshare for posting this (we should have been more careful), but stand behind the part that Rapidshare is targeting copyright infringers more aggressively.
Update: New info at Rapidshare Aims To Convert Pirates Into Customers.