Back in the day, Rapidshare was one of the most popular file-sharing websites around. The time has now come to close the doors on the site as it has been officially announced that Rapidshare will close in March. The decision comes after a long period of decline for the website, which fired 3/4 of its staff in 2013. The website adopted anti-piracy measures following mass criticism over allegations surrounding copyright infringement. Following this, Rapidshare later scrapped their free service. Reports from one expert said, users had been abandoning the site ever since that decision, thereby meaning it was no longer a viable business.

The website, which was based in Switzerland, has informed users to secure their data and have said that all Rapidshare accounts would be permanently deleted on 31 March 2015. Rapidshare advised their users to save their data prior to this closure, giving them lots of time to do so.

Rapidshare was at one time ranked in the top three file-sharing websites, along with Megavideo.com and Megaupload.com. All these websites were estimated to have clocked up more than 21 billion visits between them all

Ernesto van der Sar. the editor of the file-sharing news site TorrentFreak said, “It’s clear that Rapidshare lost the vast majority of its users in recent years, after it implemented a series of anti-piracy measures. This visitor exodus has led to a sharp decline in revenues…The announced shutdown suggests that it was no longer viable for Rapidshare to offer its services in the present form.”

The site was launched way back in 2002, is only one of numerous websites, which are similar, to have faced legal battles in the last few years. Interestingly, unlike some of their competitors, it did win a partial victory in court. In 2012 a German court ruled that it operated legally in the country and said that it didn’t have to monitor files uploaded by its users. Rapidshare was told that it had to monitor other sites that were linking to copyrighted files on their platform and also to ensure that those files became inaccessible to users. That ruling followed a number of measures by the website to tackle piracy.

It only took a few months, however for issues to began to surface and in November 2012, Rapidshare introduced a limit on how much users could share. Approximately two years later, it canned the free version altogether.

[Image via techspot]

SOURCE: BBC News