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How to Post a Copyrighted Song on Instagram?

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Manish Koli

December 5, 2023

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How to Post a Copyrighted Song on Instagram?

Do you know how to post a copyrighted song on Instagram? In today’s digital age, music is an essential component that adds life to our multimedia content, especially on platforms like Instagram where stories, reels, and even simple posts are often elevated with the right track.

But there’s a gray cloud that often hangs overhead – the issue of copyright. It’s a constant dance between wanting to share a favorite tune with the world and ensuring you’re doing so legally and ethically.

If you’ve ever paused before hitting the ‘post’ button, wondering if you’re about to breach copyright law, this guide is for you.

Dive in as we unravel the intricacies of posting copyrighted songs on Instagram without landing in hot water.

Instagram Copyright Rules for Uploading Songs

Instagram, like other major social media platforms, has stringent guidelines and automated systems in place to protect the rights of copyright holders, especially when it comes to songs.

The rules surrounding music usage are essential for content creators to understand, so they can continue sharing their stories without inadvertently violating copyright laws.

Here’s a breakdown of Instagram’s copyright rules for uploading music:

Music in Stories and Traditional Posts: Instagram has made licensing agreements with music labels to allow users to use a vast array of songs in their Stories and traditional posts.

This feature is available in many countries but not everywhere. Always make sure the song you’re using is available in Instagram’s music library to ensure you’re adhering to copyright rules.

Music Duration: Even with licensing agreements in place, there may be limitations on the length of the songs clip you can use.

Generally, shorter clips are more likely to be permissible than entire songs. Always be cautious and stick to the guidelines set by Instagram.

Usage Rights: Not all songs in Instagram’s library are available for all types of content. For instance, some tracks might be licensed for personal, non-commercial use but not for promotions or advertisements.

Regional Restrictions: Copyright laws and licensing agreements can vary by country. A song that’s permissible to use in one region might be restricted in another.

Instagram’s music library will typically show songs available in your region, but it’s always good to double-check.

Instagram Reels: For this relatively newer feature, Instagram has expanded its music library, allowing creators to integrate songs into their short video clips. The same rules about duration, usage rights, and regional restrictions apply.

Avoiding Copyright Infringement: If you’re using a song that’s not in Instagram’s library, it’s crucial to have the necessary rights or permissions to use it.

This might mean getting a direct license from the copyright holder or ensuring the song is royalty-free.

Copyright Violation Consequences: If you violate copyright rules, Instagram may mute or remove your content, issue a warning, or in repeated or severe cases, even disable your account.

Attribution: Giving credit to the original artist or copyright holder doesn’t necessarily clear you from copyright infringement. While it’s a good practice to credit creators, it’s not a substitute for obtaining the necessary permissions or licenses.

Original Music: If you’re uploading music that you’ve created and have all the rights to, you shouldn’t face copyright issues. However, due to automated copyright detection systems, there may be times when original content is mistakenly flagged. In such cases, you can appeal the decision through Instagram’s dispute process.

Stay Updated: Instagram’s policies and the music available in its library can change. It’s vital to keep abreast of any updates to avoid unintentional copyright infringements.

Related: Copyright Policy on Instagram

How to Copyright Music on Instagram?

Protecting your original music is essential, especially in the digital age where sharing and reproducing content has become effortless.

However, it’s important to clarify that you don’t copyright music on Instagram.

Instead, you copyright your music through legal channels, ensuring protection across all platforms, including Instagram.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to protect your original music:

  1. Understand Copyright Basics: As soon as you create an original piece of music and fix it in a tangible form (like recording it or writing it down), it is automatically copyrighted. This means you have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and license your work.
  2. Registration is Key: While your work is copyrighted as soon as it’s created and fixed, registering it with the relevant national copyright office provides legal evidence of your copyright. In the U.S., this would be the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration makes it easier to enforce your rights in case of infringement.
  3. Compile Necessary Materials:
    • Complete the relevant forms. For music, there are different forms based on whether it’s just a melody, lyrics, or a complete song with both.
    • Prepare a clear recording or notation of your music.
    • Pay the required registration fee.
  4. Online Registration: The U.S. Copyright Office, and many copyright offices around the world, offer online registration, which is generally faster and cheaper than paper filing. You’ll need to create an account, fill out the relevant forms, upload copies of your music, and pay the fee.
  5. Mail-in Registration: Alternatively, you can print out the relevant forms from the copyright office’s website, fill them out, and mail them with a physical copy of your music and the registration fee.
  6. Receive a Certificate: Once your application is processed and approved, you’ll receive a certificate of registration, confirming your music’s copyrighted status.
  7. Addressing Infringements on Instagram: If someone uses your copyrighted music on Instagram without permission:
    • Report the infringement to Instagram. They have a process for reporting copyright violations.
    • Consider reaching out to the infringing party. Sometimes, they may not be aware they’re violating your rights and will willingly remove the content.
    • If necessary, consult with an attorney to explore legal options.
  8. Licensing Your Music: If you wish to allow others to use your music (maybe for a fee or under specific conditions), consider setting up licensing agreements. This way, you can grant permissions while retaining control over how your music is used.
  9. Stay Vigilant: Regularly monitor platforms, including Instagram, to ensure your music isn’t being used without your permission. There are also services that can monitor this for you.
  10. Renew and Update: Copyright protection doesn’t last indefinitely. Depending on your jurisdiction and the specifics of the copyright, your music will be protected for a limited number of years (e.g., the life of the author plus 70 years in many countries). Stay informed about the duration and any necessary renewals.

How to Avoid Copyright Infringement for Music on Instagram?

Navigating the landscape of copyright laws, especially in the realm of music on platforms like Instagram, can seem daunting.

However, by understanding the basic rules and following some straightforward guidelines, you can enjoy sharing your content without running afoul of copyright restrictions. Here’s how to ensure you stay on the right side of the law:

  1. Use Instagram’s Music Library: Instagram has made licensing agreements with numerous music labels and artists, allowing users to integrate a vast array of songs into their Stories, Reels, and posts. Leveraging this library is the safest way to include music in your content.
  2. Mind the Duration: Even if you’re using music from Instagram’s library, ensure you’re adhering to any duration restrictions. Shorter clips are typically safer than longer excerpts.
  3. Understand Regional Restrictions: Licensing agreements can vary based on geography. A song available in one country might be restricted in another. Make sure the music you use is available in your region.
  4. Avoid Using Popular Commercial Music: If a song is topping the charts or is a recognised track from a popular artist, there’s a high chance it’s copyrighted. Avoid using such tracks unless they’re explicitly available in Instagram’s music library for your specific use.
  5. Explore Royalty-Free Music: There are numerous platforms and websites offering royalty-free music. These tracks are created explicitly for users to include in their content without worrying about copyright infringements, often in exchange for a one-time fee or proper attribution.
  6. Get Direct Permission: If you’re set on using a specific track not available in Instagram’s library, reach out to the copyright holder (this could be the artist, record label, or a music licensing company) and obtain explicit written permission.
  7. Consider Original Music: If you or someone you know creates original music, using these compositions is a great way to sidestep copyright issues. However, ensure that the music is entirely original and doesn’t sample or infringe on other copyrighted works.
  8. Beware of Cover Songs: Performing a cover of a copyrighted song can still constitute copyright infringement. While you may have rights to your performance, the underlying composition is still copyrighted. Use cover songs with caution and ideally with permission.
  9. Stay Updated: Copyright laws, platform regulations, and music licenses are dynamic. What’s permissible today might change tomorrow. Regularly review Instagram’s policies and stay abreast of copyright news.
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    Act Quickly if Notified
    : If you receive a notice from Instagram about a potential copyright infringement, address it promptly. Remove the content in question or dispute the claim if you believe it’s a mistake.
  11. Educate Yourself: Familiarise yourself with the basics of copyright law, especially as it pertains to music. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to avoid pitfalls.

How to Post a Copyrighted Song on Instagram?

If you’re eager to incorporate copyrighted songs into your Instagram content, you must proceed with caution. Unauthorised use of copyrighted material can lead to your content being removed, muted, or even your account being temporarily banned.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to post a copyrighted song on Instagram without infringing on rights:

  1. Leverage Instagram’s Music Library:
    • Instagram has secured licenses for a wide array of songs specifically for user content.
    • When posting a Story or Reel, you can search for and select songs directly within the app. This ensures the music is authorised for use on the platform.
    • Note that availability can vary based on your region due to licensing agreements.
  2. Duration Matters:
    • When using music from Instagram’s library, adhere to the length restrictions they provide. Typically, for Stories, you might be limited to a specific segment of the song.
  3. Secure Direct Permission:
    • If a song isn’t available in Instagram’s music library and you’re keen on using it, you’ll need to obtain direct permission from the copyright holder (this could be the artist, record label, or music licensing agency).
    • Ensure you get written permission detailing how you can use the song (e.g., in Stories, posts, or Reels) and keep this documentation safe.
  4. Use with Attribution:
    • Even if you have permission or are using a song from Instagram’s library, it’s good practice to credit the artist in your post. However, remember that attribution doesn’t replace the need for permission.
  5. Consider Cover Versions with Caution:
    • Uploading a cover song you’ve performed might seem like a way around copyright restrictions, but remember the original song’s composition is still copyrighted. If you’re sharing a cover, ensure you have the necessary rights.
  6. Explore Licensing Platforms:
    • Some platforms allow you to purchase licenses to use copyrighted music in various ways. While these licenses might cover usage in digital content, ensure they explicitly permit use on social media platforms like Instagram.
  7. Stay Updated and Adaptable:
    • Instagram’s music policies and library can change. Songs that were once available might be removed, or new ones might be added. Regularly review any updates to avoid unintentional copyright infringements.
  8. Respond to Copyright Notices:
    • If you receive a notification from Instagram about a copyright violation, take it seriously. Either remove the content or, if you believe there’s been a mistake and you have the right to use the song, dispute the claim by following Instagram’s provided process.
  9. Avoid Relying on “Fair Use”:
    • While “fair use” can sometimes allow for the use of copyrighted material without permission, it’s a complex legal doctrine and not always clear-cut. Relying on fair use can be risky, so consult with legal counsel if you believe your use qualifies.

Conclusion 

Navigating the world of copyrighted music on Instagram requires both awareness and respect for the rights of artists and creators.

While the platform offers a plethora of licensed tracks to enhance your content, it’s paramount to always ensure you’re on the right side of copyright laws.

Whether you’re using Instagram’s music library or seeking direct permissions, the key is to prioritise ethical and legal sharing.

By doing so, you can create captivating content that resonates with your audience, all while preserving the integrity of the musical art form and its creators.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any song in my Instagram video or Story?

No, not every song can be used without permission. However, Instagram offers a music library with licensed tracks that you can use in your Stories, Reels, and some posts.

Always make sure the song you’re using is available in this library or that you have explicit permission from the copyright holder.

What happens if I post a copyrighted song without permission on Instagram?

If you use a copyrighted song without permission, Instagram may mute the audio, remove the video, or even issue a warning against your account.
Repeated infringements can lead to your account being suspended or banned.
 

Can I post a cover of a song on Instagram without infringing on copyright?

While you might have rights to your unique performance of a cover, the original song’s composition is still copyrighted.

Posting a cover without the appropriate permissions or licensing can lead to copyright infringement.

It’s essential to get the necessary rights or licenses, even for covers.
 

If I give credit to the original artist, can I use the song without any issues?

Merely giving credit to the artist doesn’t exempt you from copyright laws.

While crediting is a good practice, it doesn’t replace the need for permission or licensing.

You must still ensure you have the rights to use the song in your content.
 

How can I get permission to use a copyrighted song on Instagram?

To obtain permission, you’d need to reach out to the song’s copyright holder, which might be the artist, record label, or a music licensing agency.

Once contacted, they can provide details on licensing fees or agreements. Always get permissions in writing and keep them for your records.

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