Revulytics Blog

RapidShare Fighting Piracy - or Profiting From It?

February 27, 2012

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PC Magazine posted an article today titled, “To Combat Piracy, RapidShare Cuts Download Speeds for Free Users.” Noting that some software vendors are curbing piracy by offering services or benefits that could not be obtained by pirating their software, the article also points out:

For the download service RapidShare, the opposite seems true as well: Cut the value of your service to a significant enough of a degree, and pirates will be forced to turn elsewhere instead of using your free services – file-hosting and downloads – to further their illegal ambitions.

According to RapidShare, the company appears to be the new go-to location for storing and sharing copyright material since the demise of Megaupload, a similar site that allowed users to upload and share content of all types. (emphasis added)

As a result, RapidShare is reducing the download speed for free users of the service to “make RapidShare very unpopular amongst pirates and thus drive the abusive traffic away.” Call me cynical - jaded, perhaps - but when I read this my initial reaction was, “Of course they are reducing the download speed for free users - now they can drive more users to pay for faster downloads.” I was not shocked a few paragraphs later to read:

But that’s not to say that RapidShare has flicked off the switch for fast, free downloads permanently. The company is allegedly offering RapidPro subscribers – that’s the company’s paid-for storage service – the chance to kick file downloaders’ speeds back up to normal again.

While RapidShare is collecting additional information from paid users and the files that they are storing, it is not entirely clear that whether there will be a significant impact on the sharing of pirated software. It does seem like another example of the “whac-a-mole” nature of piracy distribution channels: knock one site (or channel) down, and more pop up to replace it.

Given the decentralized and pervasive channels for pirated applications, software vendors are better served by focusing on the businesses using unlicensed software. By identifying the unlicensed users, vendors are able to convert them to paying customers and bring a measurable benefit to their bottom lines. 

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Michael Goff

Post written by Michael Goff

Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.