False music copyright claims are rampant on Facebook, so in this post, I’ll show you exactly how I deal with them.
In a previous post, I covered how to deal with false YouTube claims.
How are false copyright claims used to steal revenue from creators?
The main problem I’ve found is fraudsters registering music they didn’t create with companies that have access to Facebook’s Copyright Management Tools.
In my case, a scammer had downloaded an instrumental track from the royalty-free music service Epidemic Sound, slowed it down slightly, and then registered ownership of it with Believe’s music aggregation service TuneCore.
I had used Epidemic Sound’s track in the following video, and even though I’d paid them for the license, the false copyright owner was able to copyright claim the video and steal the revenue.
What is stream fraud?
Ironically, the industry fighting stream fraud is also committing it – as you’ll see in this post.
But what is stream fraud?
Streaming fraud is a costly issue, with bad actors diluting the royalty pool and taking money out of the pockets of legitimate music creators.Andreea Gleeson, CEO, TuneCore
Streaming abuse, encompassing bots, streaming click farms, and imposters, impacts all artists – both self-released and those signed to labels.
It affects the music industry by diluting the royalty pool, reducing revenue for legitimate streams, and slowing the approval and release process for creators.Music Fights Fraud Alliance
How do you check for copyright claims on Facebook?
It actually took me nearly 1 year to find out that I had a copyright claim on the video because Facebook does not send you an email alert!
So make sure you frequently check your Facebook Support Inbox for new claims.
How to respond to false copyright claims on Facebook
If you’ve been sent a false copyright claim, the following is exactly what I did to resolve it.
Including what to do if the fraudster rejects your dispute – this happened to me.
First, check the song they’re claiming you have used
The copyright claim will tell you which song the fraudster is claiming you have used.
Look it up on YouTube, iTunes, or Spotify, and see if it’s the same song.
Sometimes, it’s a completely different track; sometimes, the fraudster has re-uploaded a track they didn’t create, or sometimes, it’s an artist singing over an instrumental track they’ve licensed.
In my case, the artist re-uploaded a song from Epidemic Sound and claimed it as their original work.
Here’s the original track I licensed:
And below is the fraudster’s track that they’ve registered as their own.
Notice that the fraudster has downloaded the instrumental of Epidemic Sound’s song and slowed it down slightly! This is the trick they’ve used to register the song as their own.
How to file a copyright dispute
If you have licensed the music legally, then file a dispute immediately.
Here’s the information you need to include in your dispute:
- Where you have licensed the song from.
- The artist and title of the licensed song.
- A link to the licensed track.
- Why you believe this is a false copyright claim.
- Any additional evidence which proves their claim is false.
The following is an example dispute:
I have licensed this track from Epidemic Sound.
It’s called ‘Thinking About You’ by Sture Zetterberg and available at https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/wxgBcGHjBW/.
The artist you represent has re-uploaded this copyrighted work as their own. They have slowed it down slightly to avoid fraud detection.
Epidemic Sound is the sole owner of 100% of the rights of this track, and therefore no one has the right to claim their music.Facebook copyright dispute example
Another reason for a dispute I’ve needed to use is, “Your artist has used a copyrighted track that they don’t own as a backing track in their song and uploaded it.”
Within 7 days, your dispute should be accepted.
If it’s rejected, we need to go directly to the music company, as I did in this case!
Note that throughout the entire process, I kept Epidemic Sound in the loop. Always let them know if someone is abusing their content.
How to contact a copyright owner directly
Finding who to contact if your dispute is rejected can be challenging. Start by researching the song on Google and YouTube and try to find some copyright information. Also, look up the song on iTunes and find the copyright owner there.
Then, go to the copyright owner’s website and find their contact information.
Luckily, they included their email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, in the reason for rejection. So I knew it was Believe, a French music company run by Denis Ladegaillerie and Béatrice Dumurgier from France.
Here’s the reason Believe Music gave for the copyright claim being rejected.
My next step was directly contacting the music company behind the false claim.
I started by looking up their CEO and COO and finding their emails on Google. Use an email verification service to check the emails are valid and deliverable.
I copied them into the message because their copyright team had already rejected my claim. They should know that their company is involved in fraudulent activities.
It’s important to copy in higher-ups because if the case eventually goes to court, you have evidence to show that you did all you could to resolve the issue before going to court or the Copyright Tribunal.
Here’s what I said in my email:
Dear Believe Copyright Team, CEO Denis Ladegaillerie, COO Béatrice Dumurgier.
On Copy: Epidemic Sound Copyright.
I disputed a copyright claim on Facebook for the video below, and you have rejected it.
But I have definitely licensed this song from the correct copyright owner, and I’ll prove it below.
The video in question:
Timestamp: 03:51 – 04:23
I have licensed this track from Epidemic Sound. They own 100% of the rights to this song.
The track is ‘Thinking About You (Instrumental Version)’ by Sture Zetterberg available at https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/wxgBcGHjBW/.
This song was released 3 years ago on 2020-10-25, and your artists’ track ‘New Success’ by Rachelle Spring, BNB, Maria Augusta, Dave Louis was only released 1 year ago on 2022-10-17.
Your artist has taken this instrumental track from Epidemic Sound and re-uploaded it as their own. They’re now stealing other peoples’ revenue on Facebook.
You have been stealing my revenue since filing the copyright claim on Saturday, 11 March 2023 at 02:33.
Please remove the copyright dispute, and return my revenue immediately.Example email sent to a copyright owner to dispute a false Facebook copyright claim
Below is another example email I sent to the American digital music distribution service DistroKid after one of their artists used an instrumental track from Epidemic Sound and registered it as their own.
Dear DistroKid Copyright Team, CEO Philip Kaplan, COO Phil Bauer, DistroKid Support
On Copy: Epidemic Sound Copyright.
Your artist “Karen June Lawrence KJL” has taken an instrumental track from Epidemic Sound and registered it as their own work “Looking For A Beat (Reggaeton Single Remix)” and is claiming copyright on my video. I am not using your artist’s track.
I have disputed the copyright claim on Facebook for the video below, but it’s stuck “In Review.” Please review and release the claim as soon as possible.
I have licensed the original track “Head Under Water by Lvly feat. Coby Effect” https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/JSYgb9aRv8/ from Epidemic Sound. They own 100% of the rights to this song.
The video in question: https://www.facebook.com/iamkarlrock/videos/893363445588806/
Timestamp: 03:31 – 04:06
I have attached the copyright claim.Example email sent to a DistroKid to dispute a false Facebook copyright claim
Raise awareness about copyright abuse by posting on social media
After contacting the copyright owner or music aggregator, make the copyright abuse public on whatever social media you have. Be sure to tag the company in question.
I posted this blog and then added it to the above email chain.
I’ve uploaded a blog post about Believe’s fraudulent and false copyright claim; you can read it here:My follow up email to Believe and Epidemic Sound
Were the false copyright claims removed?
Yes! After 6-7 days, both Believe & DistroKid accepted the disputes.
Please post your struggles with copyright abusers in the comments.