What Happens if You Get an Instagram Music Copyright Strike?

Using copyrighted songs 🎵 in your posts can easily lead to Instagram music copyright strikes – but what does that really mean?

Well, in order to answer that question, we must first outline the cases in which Instagram most typically flags unlicensed use of music.

For example, while the social platform will usually not ❌ flag posts with music lasting 1-3 seconds, any use of copyright material that extends past a few seconds – especially up to 30! – is at risk of copyright strikes. 

Additionally, a chorus or other iconic portion of a hit song is much more likely to alert the platform of copyright infringement than a less popular verse or bridge. 

That being said, even if you obtain a license to use a piece of music, Instagram’s algorithm may still flag 🚩 it. As with any piece of technology, the algorithm is not perfect. Therefore, it can’t always “know” whether you’re using music legally.

As a result, any time you use music in your Instagram post – even if it’s royalty free – you technically risk a copyright strike.

That brings us to our main question – what actually happens when you are flagged for Instagram music copyright infringement 🤔?


Instagram’s copyright policies outline the reporting and notification process for infringement. More specifically, if another Instagram user reports that your post infringes on their music copyrights, Instagram will remove the post and send you a notification describing the incident.

Oftentimes, this notification will include the reason for the removal as well as the reporter’s personal information like their name and email 📧 address.

As a result, this notification also provides you the opportunity to contact the reporter and dispute their reasoning, if you believe you did not infringe on their copyrights.


If one of your posts is flagged for copyright infringement, you’re usually better off keeping the content off the site and moving on equipped with your new knowledge of avoiding future strikes. 

That being said, Instagram’s takedown notification also outlines their appeals process. Depending on whether the reporter utilized a DMCA takedown ⬇️ notice or Instagram’s process, you may either appeal with Instagram’s form or a DMCA counter notice. 

However, note that you should not file an appeal – especially through DMCA – unless you are confident you have not violated Instagram music copyright guidelines. If you are unsure about your infringement but still want to appeal, you should consult a social media attorney 💼.


If copyright strikes become a common problem for your Instagram account, you will unfortunately face more extensive penalties than a simple video takedown.

More specifically, Instagram’s copyright guidelines explain that repeat offenders may face a disabled account or removed page. Believe it or not, Instagram users whose accounts are disabled due to copyright infringement may never reactivate their account 😱.

Additionally, even if repeat Instagram music copyright offenders are allowed to keep their profile, they may lose access to certain features or functionalities. However, even this “reduced” penalty can be career-ending for an influencer who depends on Instagram brand deals for revenue.


Of course, any copyright holder who finds their music on your Instagram page and believes it has provided a source of income for your brand has the right to sue for actual and statutory damages. Therefore, while Instagram’s music copyright penalties are devastating, a court 🏛️ case can be even worse.

As a result, I always advise my clients to never post any music to Instagram that they do not own or have a license for, is not royalty free, or does not follow fair use guidelines.

Of course, even fair use music can be flagged for copyrights; however, the appeals process provides a quick and easy way to erase the strike from your account.

Ultimately, Instagram music copyright rules are tricky, and can get you into trouble fast. Therefore, be sure to check out some strategies for avoiding music copyright issues on the platform! Plus, feel free to consult 🤝 a social media attorney for advice whenever you have questions or concerns.