Pioneering file hosting service RapidShare is shutting down

Pioneering file hosting service RapidShare is shutting down by the end of next month, according to a notice posted on the service’s website that was first reported by Torrrentfreak. The notice reads, in part:

“We strongly recommend all customers to secure their data. After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically.”

RapidShare was one of the pioneers of so-called one-click file hosting, which essentially allowed users to upload and share files publicly for free. The site was widely used to share copyrighted content, and frequently faced off with rights holders in court.

RapidShare also tried to work with the content industry, striking a partnership with Warner Bros in 2009 with plans to redirect users looking for unlicensed content to a legal download store. To appease rights holders, and to escape the fate of Megaupload, RapidShare introduced a number of measures to discourage infringement, including strict limits on how often files could be shared and tools that helped rights holders to automate take-downs.

But partnerships with Hollywood and music labels never came through, and anti-piracy measures decimated RapidShare’s user base. In early 2013, the company laid off most of its staff, and it already looked like the end was near. Later that year, RapidShare tried one more time to reinvent itself as a competitor to Dropbox and other cloud storage vendors. In the end, that may have been too little, too late.

Kim Dotcom wants to take his Internet Party to the U.S.

Controversial internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is getting to take his political ambitions to stateside. Dotcom announced on Twitter Monday that his Internet Party is going to launch in the United States in 2015.

Kim Dotcom announces the launch of his Internet Party in New Zealand

No matter what you think of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, you have to admit that he has a talent to rally the masses — and now, Dotcom wants to take that  talent to the next level. Dotcom took to Twitter Tuesday to say that he is going to launch a political party simply called the Internet Party next week at his birthday party in Auckland, New Zealand, to which he has invited some 15,000 guests. Details about the program and candidates of the party are still scarce, but Dotcom has said that it wants to oppose government spying and advocate for better internet access. It sounds a bit like the Pirate Party, except that it’s run by someone who’s actually been accused of being a pirate.

Judge steps down over U.S. ‘enemy’ comment in Megaupload case

The surreal global saga pitting the entertainment industry against a technology cult hero has taken a new twist. The judge presiding over the extradition of Kim Dotcom, founder of file-sharing site Megaupload, has stepped down over a controversial comment about US copyright law.

France: Google may have to censor for piracy after all

France’s Supreme Court has set aside a critical piracy ruling won by Google in 2011, leaving the door open to the search giant being forced to censor some of its autocomplete listings to prevent copyright infringement and piracy.