RapidShare has moved quickly to implement a new piracy deterrent for public downloads, after removing the "inefficient" speed cap system last week that had been in place since January, when fellow file hosting website Megaupload was shuttered by the US government for alleged copyright offences.
While all downloads are now at full speed, uploaders using a free account will be limited to sharing only 1GB of data each day, while even those that pay for accounts will still be limited to 30GB in the same period.
The transfer limit does not apply to privately shared files.
In what could be a blow to pirates, but also those using a free RapidShare account for distributing their own content, the transfer limit may effectively end RapidShare as a viable way to distribute files publicly. For pirates, a typical 300MB TV show episode can only be shared 3 times before the daily limit is reached. Similarly, for a open source software publisher distributing a 5MB piece of software, the daily limit means only 200 copies of the software can be distributed in any given day.
RapidShare CEO Alexandra Zwingli says these changes would not inconvenience the "average user". "We are constantly looking to improve our services, and at the same time prevent copyright infringements," says Zwingli, "The main challenge of implementing general changes to the service is meeting both goals without compromising the user experience. The new model is a solution that will avoid abuse of RapidShare while ensuring that the average user will not be affected."
The transfer cap comes into effect November 27.