The Essentials of Instagram Copyright

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

Protect Your Photos and Videos—Learn About Instagram Copyright

How often do you see the same photo on Instagram posted by several users? Instagram users share and post other people’s content without asking for permission first, which is not only unfair but also unlawful.

According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other copyright laws, you have to own copyrights to a piece of work to copy and distribute it. If you are not the copyright holder of the content you share on Instagram, you are most probably breaching Instagram copyright rules without being aware of it. To avoid infringement, learn about how copyright works and how long it lasts. Knowing how to copyright will protect your work from misuse.

If you are not sure whether your Instagram post qualifies as copyright infringement or you think someone stole your work, find out more about Instagram’s copyright policy.

Instagram Copyright Explained

When someone creates an original piece of work, that person automatically gets copyright to it. You can also write a copyright notice to put extra protection on your creation. Copyright can refer to different kinds of works, such as:

  • Books, articles, or manuscripts
  • Photos, paintings, videos, movies, or TV series
  • Songs, audio recordings, or musical compositions

What you can’t copyright are facts and ideas. You are free to express the same idea as others, but you have to use different words to be able to claim copyrights to your work.

If you wish to post a photo or video on Instagram that you did not make, think twice! Using other people’s work on Instagram without getting their permission can put you in danger of getting a copyright infringement strike unless your post is in the domain of fair use.

Fair Use on Instagram

Section 107 of the Copyright Act allows you to use copyrighted content for teaching, research, criticism, commentary, and news reporting. Here is what you need to bear in mind when considering whether your Instagram post counts as fair use:

Fair Use ComponentsFair Use or Not?

Purpose and Character

  • If you use someone’s copyrighted work for public purposes, such as news reporting, it can fall under the fair use
  • If you copy someone else’s work without giving credits to that person, you can’t rely on the fair use act

Nature of the Copyright-Protected Work

  • If you use facts from someone’s copyrighted work, you might avoid infringement
  • If you take whole parts from a fiction novel without the permission of the copyright owner, it can’t count as fair use

Amount of the Copyrighted Work Used

  • If you take smaller fractions of someone else’s work and use quotation marks, you are less likely to get a copyright strike
  • If you use large portions of copyright-protected work without permission, you will probably get a copyright strike

Effect on the Potential Market

  • If you are using other people’s work for profit, it can’t qualify as fair use
  • If your usage of other authors’ work damages its market value, you are committing a copyright infringement

If you want to avoid getting a copyright strike on Instagram, you can do the following:

  1. Ask the copyright owner for permission to share his or her post
  2. Tag people whose posts you are sharing
  3. Don’t use someone else’s posts for social or financial gain

How Do You Copyright a Photo on Instagram?

When posting on Instagram, keep in mind these points:

  • If you are in a photo, you don’t necessarily own the copyrights to it—the copyright-holder is the one who took the photo
  • If you are a photographer in a magazine, your employer might own all copyrights to your works
  • You can’t prevent other people from taking photos of the same buildings, sculptures, or other subjects, but you can stop them from using your photos as their own

Here are some of the ways you can prove photo ownership:

You can use DoNotPay to learn more about image copyright laws and how to copyright an image.

Songs on Instagram—Copyright Dos and Don’ts

You should be careful what music you include in your videos because it can earn you a copyright strike on Instagram. To avoid copyright infringement strikes, you should follow the guidelines Instagram set for including music in videos:

  1. Use shorter clips of music
  2. Always add a visual component to your videos
  3. Don’t let the audio component be the only purpose of your video
  4. Add music to Stories and film traditional musical performances without any limits

How To Report Copyright Infringement on Instagram

If you think that an Instagram user misused your work and infringed your copyrights, you can make a copyright claim via:

  1. Instagram Copyright Report Form
  2. Designated DMCA agent

How To File a Copyright Claim via Report Form on Instagram

To report copycats to Instagram, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Copyright Report Form
  2. Select I found content which I believe infringes my copyright
  3. Give your contact details
  4. Add the content you want to report
  5. Provide your original work
  6. Confirm declaration statement
  7. Click on Send

How To Contact Instagram’s DMCA Agent

You can reach the designated DMCA agent in the following ways:


Instagram, LLC

Attn: Instagram Designated Agent

1601 Willow Road

Menlo Park, California 94025

File DMCA Notices With DoNotPay in an Instant

Your digital works are under DMCA protection, and you can file a DMCA takedown notice if you believe someone infringed your copyrights. Instagram offers a way to do it, but it can be quite tiring and time-consuming because you might wait for a long time to get a response from their designated agent. If you want to solve your copyright issues faster, use DoNotPay!

With DoNotPay, you can file a DMCA takedown notice in a few easy steps without having to deal with any agents! Here is how to do it:

  1. Log in to DoNotPay in any
  2. Select DMCA Takedown
  3. Provide the name of the content that was the target of infringement
  4. Add the links to your original work and to the post that breaches your copyrights
  5. Verify your contact information and hit Sign and Submit

If you want to see the results of your claim, open My Disputes. You don’t need to have proof of ownership to file a DMCA takedown notice with DoNotPay.

DoNotPay—An Insta-Solution to Your Bureaucratic Issues

Do you have other issues with Instagram and need to contact their customer support? Use DoNotPay to shorten the waiting when getting in touch with Instagram's customer support representatives!

You can use DoNotPay to learn more about how copyright works on other platforms such as Youtube or Facebook. If someone infringes your copyrights on Youtube, learn how to make a copyright claim.

DoNotPay cares about your access to justice! We received the 2020 Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access from the American Bar Association, which is the recognition of our efforts to provide better access to services such as suing in small claims court.

Besides copyright issues, DoNotPay can deal with a bunch of other tasks for you! Use any to access DoNotPay, and check out our other options:

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