How much of online file-storage service RapidShare’s business was fuelled by piracy? Well, since implementing tough restrictions on its users’ uploads and downloads, the company has been struggling. On Friday, Swiss media reported that it was laying off 45 of its 60 employees. “Unfortunately, we have to part with a number of employees,” CEO Kurt Sidler told news site 20min. “But RapidShare will continue to operate, and we have concrete plans for our future.” That future is thought to involve more B2B partnerships for cloud storage, rather than the consumer-focused service that made RapidShare so popular. TorrentFreak outlines the fast decline of the service, which was the 50th most popular website in the world as recently as 2010 according to Alexa, but is now bumping around in the low 800s. Its challenge has been to find a lucrative business model that doesn’t involve turning a blind eye to piracy. A common argument against copyright-fuelled legal action against cyberlockers is the fact that there are plenty of legitimate uses for these services too. And that’s true: but for those like RapidShare, making money from the latter is proving tough.

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