After over a decade helping people download movies, music and other files, popular file-sharing service RapidShare will shut down next month, by choice. The site is advising people who use it to secure their data before it gets deleted March 31, 2015.
Don't know RapidShare? You might remember these icons from your Kazaa days:
Switzerland-based RapidShare has been around since 2002, and in 2010, it was counted as one of the top 50 most-used sites on the internet. But that popularity came at a price. Since RapidShare was largely beloved because it was an easy way to share copyrighted materials with just a direct download, the site made (obviously) made enemies with entertainment companies. The RIAA called RapidShare a "rogue website" and the company dealt with a procession of lawsuits. At one point was ordered by British courts to conduct surveillance on users and report illegal sharing.
RapidShare tried to rebrand itself as a cloud storage service. By 2013, it was laying off most of its staff. In 2014, it stopped offering its free service, effectively giving itself a death sentence. With so many ways to share (and pirate) content without paying, there was no way RapidShare could stay in business.
The current crop of popular file-sharing services isn't doing so hot either. Current reigning champ Pirate Bay is back up after a lengthy hiatus after getting raided last November, and just yesterday torrenting service KickAss had its domain seized. These sites are popping back up almost as fast as they're getting whacked down, but the ongoing conflict between file-sharing services and anti-piracy efforts isn't going away anytime soon, and the surf seems choppier than ever. But it looks like Rapidshare will definitely be gone for good. [Gizmodo ES]