RapidShare, one of the longest-running file-sharing websites, has finally decided to close its doors.
On Tuesday, the Switzerland-based site abruptly announced that it will “stop the active service" on March 31. Neither the site nor its Germany-based lawyer, Daniel Raimer, immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment.
The site, which was founded in 2002, faced scrutiny from German courts, attempted to combat piracy, and even hired a Washington, DC-based lobbying firm in 2010. Back in 2008, a German deep packet inspection firm found that RapidShare "generates half of the [direct download link] traffic and therefore up to 5 percent of all Web traffic in some regions."
In a statement to Ars in the wake of the 2012 Megaupload raid, RapidShare's then-CEO Alexandra Zwingli argued that her firm was a wholesome, legal business. "RapidShare AG was founded in Switzerland and in fact, it was always located at the address given in the company details and was always run under real names without any anonymous intermediate businesses,” she wrote. “The radical measures against Megaupload were apparently required since the situation there had been totally different."
"We act rigidly against copyright infringement," Zwingli asserted. She added that the company has "established a constructive dialogue with politics and society in the United States and in other countries."
Just last month, it came out that the Communications Security Establishment—Canada's equivalent to the National Security Agency—targeted RapidShare users.
The Swiss tech news site PCTipp.ch reported (Google Translate) in February 2014 that RapidShare presented 23 of its 24 employees with an ultimatum: quit or be fired.