meera roses on wooden background for copyright claim post

How To: Copyright Claim on Instagram

If you have been following my Instagram stories you might already know that recently I have had some experience with making a copyright claims on Instagram.

In this post I will tell you how to fill in a copyright claim on Instagram. For anyone that is not familiar with Copyright here is an explanation by the AOP:

Copyright is simply about ownership of creative endeavour. The law (in the form of the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988) gives creators ownership of their work (with some exceptions) and broadly-speaking, like all other forms of creative endeavour, professional photographers make their living by licensing the use of their work, not by selling it outright.

This is no different if you buy a piece of music, (you buy the right, a.k.a. a licence, to play that music for yourself – you don’t own it outright) or if you buy a book. This is an important distinction and a source of confusion for some who may think that as they’ve paid the photographer, they own the photographs and can do with them as they like. This is not the case.

Source: The Association of Photographers

This means that I own the copyright of every photo I have ever taken. The use of those images is limited based on what was agreed with the client at the time.

It is not OK for the client to distribute or give permission for other people to use my images.

Recently I had some issues with a client of mine which resulted in my photos being shared by third-parties without my authorisation or any credit.

On my terms and conditions it clearly stated that any reposts on Instagram needed to be clearly credited. As the original posts were not credited the reposts were unfortunately done in the same way. Not many pages will bother to ask who owns the copyright. They should do it.

It can be tricky to track your images on Instagram. For this reason I believe most of these pages are just used to getting away with this kind of behaviour. You can sometimes find your photos just by checking the tagged photos of your clients on Instagram.

Now that you have found your images out there on Instagram without credit or your permission. What do you do? If you don’t care, you do nothing. However if you are like me you need to set things straight.

How to: Copyright Claim on Instagram

Firstly as per Instagram’s advice do not share the post with your audience to gather attention to the fact that your copyright has been infringed. This can be considered harassment.

Secondly, try and resolve it amicably. Send an email to let them know that you own the copyright to the photo they shared and what you would like them to do. Give them a set amount of time to respond to you before you report it to Instagram. Personally I have given 24 hours in the emails I have sent. This is up to what you think is reasonable.

What is also up to you is what you want them to do. Do you want the photo taken down? Do you want to sell a license for them to use the photo? (if this is the case please double check if you can sell it as you might not be able to do so without model releases) Or do you just want do get credited? Really this is in your hands.

If you don’t hear back from them or they are not doing what you have requested you might want to proceed with the copyright claim.

This is very easy to do and Instagram usually responds very quickly. Don’t think they ever take more than 24 hours to resolve it.

Step 1: This process needs to be done on your computer. Go to the post you want to report and click the 3 dots on the top right hand corner. Select: “Report Inappropriate” > “Other” > “Intellectual Property Violation” and click the “learn more” button.

Step 2: Go through the Copyright information on this page and proceed by clicking “Learn more about reporting copyright violations”. I would recommend that you read the FAQs if it is your first time doing this.

Step 3: Click on “this form” so you are taken to the online form for a Copyright claim and click the relevant options for Copyright. Select: “I found content which I believe infringes my copyright “.

You are half way there.

Step 4: You need to provide your contact details, a link to the post you are reporting and a link to the original work. If you haven’t shared it on Instagram just upload it to your website.

Step 5: Instagram will respond to you and ask you why you believe your copyright has been infringed. Sometimes they ask for the link to your work again.

Step 6: They will email you with the final outcome. If they find that your claim is valid they will just confirm that they have taken the post down.

Please note that they will provide your email address to the person in question so you might hear from them.

If afterwards you reach an agreement you can let Instagram know and remove your claim. Haven’t done that yet so cannot comment on this part of the process.

Hopefully this post has showed you clearly how to do a copyright claim on Instagram.

As this is already a lengthy post I might write another one on what happened when Instagram disabled one of the accounts I reported for copyright infringement. 

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to give any legal advice. Please contact a solicitor if you have any legal questions

In the featured photo: Meera

Thank you for reading and please come back next week for another post! 
New blog posts every Wednesday at 6pm (London time), unless I am travelling.

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