Through the death of Megaupload and the quiet shutdown of several smaller cyberlockers, RapidShare has persisted, insisting that it is "definitely aiming for legitimate use." Now, the company has further emphasized that stance by dramatically slowing speeds for non-paying users. Throughout the week, anonymous users and those with free accounts have reported far lower download speeds, and now RapidShare has confirmed to TorrentFreak that since it has "been faced with a severe increase in free user traffic and unfortunately also in the amount of abuse of [its] service" since Megaupload's shutdown, it has taken steps to make the site less attractive for piracy.
"We have thus decided to take a painful yet effective step: to reduce the download speed for free users. We are confident that this will make RapidShare very unpopular amongst pirates and thus drive the abusive traffic away," says RapidShare. The company also says, however, that it won't be limiting download speeds for all files. Legitimate uploaders can have the limits lifted for their files if they provide RapidShare with details about what they're hosting and give the company license to periodically investigate for infringing activity. There's been some speculation that RapidShare is trying to upsell users with this latest change, but given the aggressiveness of recent anti-piracy efforts, it may also be a necessary step if the company wants to keep operating.