One of the biggest issues in file-sharing platforms is the question of copyrights — the rights of the author to receive remuneration for their work. Files.fm takes a lot of care to respect copyrights, as each author must receive adequate compensation for the work created.
First of all, what is copyright? It is a legal right for an author of an original work to decide how the work might be used by others. Usually, it means that the author allows others to use their work in exchange for specific compensation: payment or other way of showing respect towards the author, e.g. mentioning author’s name when the work is used. Other times, an author can decide not to allow to use their work by others in any capacity.
It is important to note that copyright does not necessarily need be registered: any work created belongs to its author, and it is not necessary for the author to put their watermark on a photo or video or register their rights with a state institution. If a person has created any kind of original work, it is automatically protected by copyright.
However, there are important restrictions in place to ensure a fair treatment of copyrights. First of all, every author should remember that copyright law protects only the original expression of ideas, not the ideas itself. Furthermore, the law often allows to use copyrighted material for personal needs, for research and education, and in other works of art.
It is a complicated field of law with different restrictions depending on author’s wishes, geographical considerations (something that is copyrighted in the US might not necessarily be copyrighted in Europe and vice versa) and other factors. If you want to find out more, we would suggest contacting a lawyer or diving deeper in Google search results.
Early file-sharing platforms and current torrenting sites do not pay much attention towards copyright. While the use of torrenting platforms is not illegal, it is against the law to download copyrighted content — which is what most torrent users are doing.
The actual repercussions for doing so depend on the laws of your country. In some, illegal downloads can costs hundreds or even thousands of euros; in others, police have bigger problems than paying attention to illegal downloads. Law enforcement notwithstanding, it is still immoral or, at the very least, mean towards authors of the works.
We at Files.fm believe that there is a lot of content which is useful for the public and doesn’t infringe any copyrights, and we want to see this content in our community-powered library. There are two main categories of files which can be published:
- content created by publishers who allow and encourage others to use their work (e.g. study notes, self-made movies, songs from indie bands)
- already published content which is gathered online (e.g. open-source software)
Each file uploaded will be checked by other members of public. In case of copyright claims, we will allow the authors of the works decide what to do:
- leave the work available for public with any changes the author considers to be necessary (e.g. putting up a watermark on a photography)
- set a price for views or downloads so that the author can earn adequate remuneration for their work with our FFM tokens
- block access to content and implement appropriate copyright laws
We think that protecting the authors’ rights must be one of the cornerstones of a community-backed and available-to-all library. It provides benefits to users as well: you no longer have to feel slightly guilty and panicky every time you use torrenting sites. You can show your gratitude to your favourite authors, and you can be sure that content provided in the library is legal and safe.
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