What are valid and invalid reasons for filing a dispute?

SoundCloud sees many reasons given as the basis for disputes but 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 is not valid. Please note that any dispute filed based on an invalid reason as listed below will be rejected by SoundCloud’s Copyright Team.


Valid reasons for filing a dispute


Your own original content was blocked

If you are signed to a label that is distributed by a digital distributor, that digital distributor may have delivered that content to our content ID system for protection.  We will need to work with them to resolve the situation.  If your upload is blocked for matching your own content, we encourage you to file a dispute so that the issue can be resolved.  There are also steps that can be taken when resolving a dispute to avoid the situation from happening in the future.  Our team can advise on this when filing a dispute.  


You have permission from the copyright owner

If you used someone else’s work but you have explicit permission from the rightsholder to upload that content, you are encouraged to file a dispute so that the issue can be resolved.  When filing a dispute, please provide adequate details about your rights and/or permissions for our Copyright Team to review.  


Your track was misidentified and blocked for matching something else

Our content ID system uses multiple layers of audio fingerprinting technology, but no technology is perfect.  Sometimes tracks are blocked for matching something entirely different from your upload.  If this happens, we encourage you to file a dispute to let us know that a mistake has happened.  Please be sure to provide enough detail about your rights that our Copyright Team can properly process your dispute. 


Your use falls under fair use or a copyright exception

If you believe that your use of someone else’s work falls under fair use or a copyright exception, we would encourage you to let us know.  Please keep in mind that such a determination is case-specific so please be sure to provide plenty of details as to why you feel your work is allowable to help our Copyright Team review. 


Invalid reasons for filing a dispute


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

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


I only used a small part of the copyrighted work

Generally, you always need permission to post someone else’s work on SoundCloud, whether it's the entire work or just a small part (e.g. a sample).   We have heard from some of our users that they believed they could legally sample someone else’s work if they used less than 30 seconds or some other small amount.  This is not always true.  Using this content without permission may still be infringing.  


I'm not earning any money from it

As mentioned above, you always need permission to use someone else’s work, regardless of whether you are making money from it.  


Other tracks on SoundCloud contain the same copyrighted content

Permission to use or publish copyright-protected material is generally granted on a case-by-case 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 use and user.  


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

Some creators may give away their album or track as a 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.  

Additionally, if you have received a promotional copy from a label, we would encourage you to ensure that the rights granted include the right to share on SoundCloud.  If your permissions with a promotional copy do not explicitly state that the content can be shared on SoundCloud, then unfortunately that track can’t be shared here and your dispute will be rejected.


I credited the original creator

Crediting the original creator is not a substitute for the permission required to upload their content. You still need permission, usually granted in the form of a license, 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

We all love to share the music that we enjoy.  Our community is part of what makes SoundCloud unique.  However, most creators want control over where and how their content appears.  Their label or distributor may also have a say in how the content is shared.  If the content is already on SoundCloud, you can share with your audience by “reposting” instead of uploading on your own.  If you don’t have permission from all copyright owners, including the label and/or distributor if relevant, to post the track then you should not be uploading their content. 

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