Pioneering file hosting service RapidShare is shutting down

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Pioneering file hosting service RapidShare is shutting down by the end of next month, according to a notice posted on the service’s website that was first reported by Torrrentfreak. The notice reads, in part:

“We strongly recommend all customers to secure their data. After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically.”

RapidShare was one of the pioneers of so-called one-click file hosting, which essentially allowed users to upload and share files publicly for free. The site was widely used to share copyrighted content, and frequently faced off with rights holders in court.

RapidShare also tried to work with the content industry, striking a partnership with Warner Bros in 2009 with plans to redirect users looking for unlicensed content to a legal download store. To appease rights holders, and to escape the fate of Megaupload, RapidShare introduced a number of measures to discourage infringement, including strict limits on how often files could be shared and tools that helped rights holders to automate take-downs.

But partnerships with Hollywood and music labels never came through, and anti-piracy measures decimated RapidShare’s user base. In early 2013, the company laid off most of its staff, and it already looked like the end was near. Later that year, RapidShare tried one more time to reinvent itself as a competitor to Dropbox and other cloud storage vendors. In the end, that may have been too little, too late.

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