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Cybercrime

How to Deal with False Copyright Claims on Facebook

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.

This is one of my videos that received false copyright claims. This is the YouTube version because I can’t embed the Facebook version in this post.

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!

I hate to think how much streaming fraud is happening to content creators without their knowledge!

So make sure you frequently check your Facebook Support Inbox for new claims.

This is what copyright claims look like in Facebook’s Support Inbox.

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.

This is what a copyright notice and my submitted dispute look like on Facebook.

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:

The song I licensed from Epidemic Sound.

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.

It won’t allow me to embed it in the post, so click to listen.

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:

  1. Where you have licensed the song from.
  2. The artist and title of the licensed song.
  3. A link to the licensed track.
  4. Why you believe this is a false copyright claim.
  5. 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 I kept Epidemic Sound in the loop throughout the process. 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, meta-copyright@believe.com, in the reason for rejection. So I knew it was Believe, a French music company run by Denis Ladegaillerie and Béatrice Dumurgier from France.

I’m not the only one to have problems with Believe Music. Jackie M over at Medium has a twopart series about dealing with their false claims.

Here’s the reason Believe Music gave for the copyright claim being rejected.

This is what a copyright dispute rejection looks like on Facebook.

My next step was to contact the music company behind the false claim directly.

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:

To: meta-copyright@believe.com,
denis.ladegaillerie@believedigital.com,
bdumurgier@gmail.com

Cc: copyright@epidemicsound.com

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:
https://www.facebook.com/iamkarlrock/videos/1079799552688858
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.

To: phil@distrokid.com,
philip.kaplan@distrokid.com,
philip@distrokid.com,
support@distrokid.com,
ea@distrokid.com,
legal@distrokid.com

Cc: copyright@epidemicsound.com

Dear DistroKid Copyright Team, CEO Philip Kaplan, COO Phil Bauer, Philip Kaplan Assistant, 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

Update: More stream fraud from DistroKid

Another DistroKid artist has issued a false copyright claim by releasing an Epidemic Sound song as their own. They’ve also tried inserting ads into my video to steal my Facebook in-stream revenue.

Another false copyright claim from DistroKid artist GM Melodious Sound.

The claimed track “Tranquil Lakeside” was released on 2023-05-17, whereas Epidemic Sound’s original track “Shitty Train” by Of Men And Wolves feat. Las Lunas was released on 2022-09-30. It’s easy to see who released it first!

The track is used in this video 02:35 – 02:55 and 04:41 – 05:00.

7 days later, after my dispute, DistroKid released the claim. But when the video was released publically on Facebook, they claimed the video again!

This is the second claim for the same song on the same video.
This shows the first closed copyright claim (bottom) and the new claim, which is in review because I disputed it.

At this point, I was getting angry. There is so much streaming fraud from legitimate online music distributors! So, I started copying the media to my emails.

To: phil@distrokid.com,
philip.kaplan@distrokid.com,
philip@distrokid.com,
support@distrokid.com,
ea@distrokid.com,
legal@distrokid.com

Cc: copyright@epidemicsound.com,
enquiries@musicbizworldwide.com,
mail@musically.com,
news@digitalmusicnews.com

Dear DistroKid Copyright Team, CEO Philip Kaplan, COO Phil Bauer, Philip Kaplan Assistant, Support, Legal.
On Copy: Epidemic Sound Copyright, Music Biz Worldwide, Music Ally, Digital Music News.

I’ve started copying in the music media because I’ve gotten sick of continuous streaming fraud on my videos by legitimate online music distributors.

Your artist, GM Melodious Sound, has taken a song from Epidemic Sound and released it as their own work, “Tranquil Lakeside.” They are fraudulently claiming copyright on my Facebook video.

You can listen to the fraudulent release here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFfiSKkNDb0.

I have licensed the original song “Shitty Train” by Of Men And Wolves feat. Las Lunas, which was released on 2022-09-30 by Epidemic Sound https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/XJ3UYxE3Gp/. Epidemic Sound own 100% of the rights to this song.

My video in question: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1579078086227392.

I have disputed the copyright claim on Facebook. Please review and release the claim as soon as possible.

DistroKid released a claim on the same video just last week. But the video has been claimed again for the same song.

I have attached the new copyright claim.

This is the third time I’ve encountered streaming fraud from DistroKid.

I’ve been collating the streaming fraud happening to my videos on my blog https://blog.karlrock.com/how-to-deal-with-false-copyright-claims-on-facebook/.

Example email sent to a DistroKid to dispute more false Facebook copyright claims

The streaming fraud never ends from DistroKid! Here’s another for Epidemic Sound’s track, “Eye on the Prize” by Nikki Gee.

More streaming fraud from guess who.

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, their Founder, CEO, and Digital Rights Manager.

I posted this blog and then added it to the above email chain.

Dear All,

I’ve uploaded a blog post about Believe’s fraudulent and false copyright claim; you can read it here:
https://blog.karlrock.com/how-to-deal-with-false-copyright-claims-on-facebook/.

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.

Update 1: Even more false copyright claims!

Revelator, a “digital IP infrastructure” company run by Bruno Guez (Founder & CEO) and Jo Friedman (General Manager), has falsely claimed one of my videos on Facebook.

The false copyright claim by Revelator Rights Manager for Music.

Here’s the thing, it’s not their music! Their artist, Aqualane, released the track Submarino on 28/10/2022. Whereas the track I used, Cloak by Christoffer Moe Ditlevsen, was released on 20/05/2020, and I’ve legally licensed from Epidemic Sound.

I’ve disputed the claim, laid a complaint via Revelator’s copyright infringement form, and emailed them directly at infringement@revelator.com and help@revelator.com.

The scary thing is that Facebook does not alert creators to copyright claims! So most creators won’t know that stream fraudsters are stealing their revenue. I now check the Facebook Support Inbox daily for false copyright claims.

A Facebook notification showing that my dispute has been accepted.

Update: After 7 days, my dispute was accepted, and I noticed that Facebook notifications showed an update about it. However, with the number of notifications I get, it’s easy to miss.

Update 2: I’ve informed Epidemic Sound about their streaming fraud problem

I’m continuing to receive false claims, and the copyright team at Epidemic Sound don’t seem to be doing much, so I decided it’s time to inform the Epidemic Sound management team.

What’s the point of licensing music from Epidemic Sound if they don’t protect their licenses and customers?

To: oscar@epidemicsound.com,
Sara.Borsvik@epidemicsound.com

Cc: stephen.setchell@epidemicsound.com,
filippa.lindman@epidemicsound.com,
Marcus.Lewold@epidemicsound.com,
Rikard.Herlitz@epidemicsound.com,
Lars.Torstensson@epidemicsound.com,
Jesper.Staffas@epidemicsound.com,
hello@epidemicsound.com

Dear Oscar Höglund and Sara Börsvik,

I’m an Epidemic Sound customer and YouTuber with nearly 1B views and 2.9M subscribers. I also used to work in anti-piracy for the music industry.

I’m writing to request your company do more about the following problem. I’m also considering making a video about this issue.

You have a massive streaming fraud issue on Facebook.

Fraudsters are downloading your songs and then re-releasing them as their own through distribution services like DistroKid and TuneCore. They then copyright-claim videos by creators like me who have legitimately licensed the track from you.

Here’s an example:

Your original song: https://youtu.be/2tmlEN6pToE.
Fraudsters release: https://youtu.be/lBhZzCZ6Y6o.

This results in wasted time and stolen money from creators like me. Unlike YouTube, Facebook does not make it obvious that a fraudster has copyright-claimed music in a video. I imagine that many of your customers don’t even know that fraudsters are stealing their revenue.

It happens so often that I’ve started a blog post detailing all the streaming fraud I experience: https://blog.karlrock.com/how-to-deal-with-false-copyright-claims-on-facebook/.

I keep your copyright team in the loop when I’m disputing claims on Facebook, but they are not doing enough to prevent this. They should be sending DCMAs to DistroKid et al. so they can remove the infringing tracks from their catalogue to stop the fraud on that track.

What’s the point of licensing music from you if you don’t protect your licenses and your customers?

My email to the Epidemic Sound management team informing them about their streaming fraud problem.

To my surprise, Epidemic Sound replied! It was a very good reply, too. They know about the issue and have taken Facebook to court in 2022 to try to stop the problem. Unfortunately, legal action will take a long time, so we’ll have to wait for a judgement in the case.

From: lina@epidemicsound.com

Hi Karl, 

Thank you so much for highlighting this issue. Let me first explain that we are aware of the issue and are as frustrated as you are with the current situation on Meta platforms (Facebook and Instagram).

In fact, after years of attempting to resolve the issue with Meta, we were forced to commence a lawsuit against Meta in 2022 to remedy the issue. (You can find more public information on the lawsuit here, due to these proceedings we can’t comment much more).

As your blog post so accurately details, and as is set forth in our complaint in the lawsuit, Meta is engaged in and is enabling widespread infringement of our music across their platforms, while depriving our artists and songwriters fair compensation for their copyrighted works, as well as limiting our clients, like yourself, the right to publish their rightfully licensed videos. 

Since you have extensive knowledge of the complexities of copyrighted music on Meta’s platforms, allow me to get a bit technical in our explanation of this issue, and what we’re doing to prevent it.

It is common for platforms, like Meta’s, to have a rights management system in place to enable music rights holders to control the use of their music in UGC, clear licensed usage, and resolve ownership conflicts so that the rightful owner is controlling the song on the platform. From our standpoint, coming from more than a decade of experience in licensing music to creators, these types of systems are necessary to ensure that music can be used legally and be licensed to creators without issues.

Meta has such a system in place that it offers to its selected music “partners,” but despite our multiple attempts to obtain access to this system, while we communicate the widespread infringement, and the issues our customers are experiencing, they have refused to grant Epidemic access to their existing system. 

In short, we are aware of the unauthorized distribution you reference. But, as detailed in the complaint, that problem appears compounded by the fact that Meta itself is engaged in infringement, has built tools that enable mass infringement, and has denied us access to the tools they offer to prevent this infringement.  

We completely share your concerns. Please rest assured that, aside from the legal proceedings, we are actively working to prevent further infringement and streaming fraud.

As soon as we are informed by either one of our customers, or artist, of improper claims on or infringing versions of our music, we contact the distributor and request them to release all ownership claims in question or we send them a DMCA notice.

We are painfully aware that, under Meta’s current system, this is not enough and that is why we have commenced the lawsuit. 

We appreciate you highlighting this problem to your community, if you have more questions or wish to discuss this matter further, we’re happy to get on a call and talk more.

The reply from Lina Melander, VP Platform Licensing & DRM, Epidemic Sound.

Please comment with your opinion on streaming fraud.

By Karl Rock

Karl Rock, is a Hindi speaking Kiwi ex-pat who take viewers behind the scenes of incredible India and its neighbours. He has visited every state and union territory in India, and its culturally similar neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh, and aims to make others fall in love with India and the subcontinent.

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