Online file converter: Web-based tool or service that allows you to convert files from one format to another through the internet. Users upload a file in a specific format, it is converted on the site's server into a different format of their choice, without the need to install any software or applications on their device. Online file converters support a wide range of file types, including documents, images, videos, audio files, and more.
Let's assume for the sake of simplicity that we're talking about ethical online converters that don't collect/sell/share any information about the files uploaded by the users, so the file really makes a private round trip.
I'm wondering about the legal responsibility of these online converters, as they're essentially redistributing derivative work of pretty much anything you give them, whether or not you're allowed to modify them in the first place. The derivative work is downloaded from their servers at some point in time.
This question is a bit related to the issue of uploading copyrighted material to social media (with the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act in the USA), except that the files here are only supposed to be downloaded by the same person who uploaded them (a private link is created and will expire quickly).
Additional assumptions (bonus):
- What if a website detects that a lot of users upload the same files and implements a cache? The converted files would then be stored in the medium-long term, but still only privately accessible only by people who have the original file (and site owners). That would probably already be illegal in the UK but I don't know about EU or USA.
- What if we have a cache and the files are encrypted with a hash of the source file, rendering their access practically impossible without the original, even for site owners?