Valid and invalid reasons to file a dispute

SoundCloud sees many reasons given as the basis for disputes, although a lot of these reasons are not legally valid. Below are some of the common reasons for filing a dispute, along with an explanation of why it is valid or not. Please note that any dispute filed based on an invalid reason as listed below will be rejected by SoundCloud’s Copyright Team.

I bought the track online and/or own the CD or vinyl

Buying a copy of a music track digitally or physically does not give you the right to share that track on SoundCloud. Online distribution is a right that belongs to the copyright owner and is not automatically transferred with your digital or physical purchase.

I only used a small part of the copyright work

Generally, if you are using someone else's copyright work, you need their permission to post that work on SoundCloud, whether it's the whole thing or just a small part (e.g. a sample).

I used someone else's work, but I created something new

Did you have permission from all copyright owners to use their work?  If not, we won’t be able to accept your dispute.

I'm not earning any money from it

You still need the copyright owner(s)’ permission even if you are not making any money from it.

Other tracks on SoundCloud contain the same copyrighted content

Permission to use or publish copyrighted material is granted on individual basis by the copyright owner(s). The fact that someone else may have permission to use the same content does not mean that it is freely available for everyone to use. A separate license has to be obtained for each case.

I got it as a free download and want to share it

Some creators may give away their album or track as free download.  Generally that gives you the right to download and listen to it only. That doesn’t mean you can post it on SoundCloud.  You still need permission from all copyright owner(s) even if they have made the track available for free elsewhere.

I credit the original creator

A copyright notice or credit is often a condition of a license, but it is not a substitute for a license. You still need permission from the copyright owner(s), even if you give them credit.

I'm a big fan of the artist and want everyone to hear their music

That’s great, but have the copyright owner(s) told you that they’re OK with you posting their music on SoundCloud? Most creators want control over where their content appears and if you don’t have permission from all copyright owners to post the track, your dispute will be rejected.

I think my use is fair, so it must be fair use

Fair use in the US, and similar concepts elsewhere, allow limited use of copyrighted works in limited circumstances, for example, education and private study, and news reporting.  Fair use is a complicated thing - many factors need to be taken into account, including the amount of the copyrighted work that is used, how it is used, and the effect this has on the original copyrighted work.  Each situation needs to be considered individually. Nevertheless, (for example) it is highly unlikely that including a track in a DJ mix or mashup, remixing a track, or posting a track because you think it is good promotion for the artist, will be considered fair use. 


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