Rapidshare, in an attempt to distance itself from pirates, and perhaps avoid the headaches Megaupload faced, have decided to impose a datacap restriction on their downloads.
Rapidshare, a big contender in the file sharing business, has taken steps to distance itself from internet piracy. Earlier this year, Kim Dotcom's Megaupload file sharing service was taken down by the US government, and it seems Rapidshare wants to avoid landing itself in the same place. To keep pirates away, Rapidshare has thus implemented a datacap restriction on their downloads, limiting the amount of data which can be downloaded from one file over a certain period of time.
The new restriction will put a 1GB per 24 hours limit on files uploaded for free, whereas subscription users will be allowed a datacap of 30GB for their files. This data restriction will apply to publicly available files, whereas personal files shared from user to user (akin to dropbox), will be unaffected.
"No download for you. Come back, one day!"
Since high data traffic on these public files will be impossible, pirates should be more or less unable to distribute copyrighted material via Rapidshare. However, smaller files such as documents, or files which will be downloaded by a limited number of people, will be largely unaffected. Unfortunately, any legitimate file of substantial size will be impacted as well.
The datacap might be a risky move for Rapidshare: Whether they like it or not, a significant amount of the traffic they have comes from piracy, and if this is stopped, who knows what Rapidshare's fate will be, especially with the new "Mega" just around the corner to scoop those pirates up. It's possible that without the pirates, Rapidshare might become a much smaller and more timid beast than it currently is.