#1: Stop! In the Name of Copyright! - Instagram’s new guidelines and features to protect against music copyright infringement 

As the COVID-19 epidemic persists and lockdown measures continue to enforce social distancing, lots of people have turned to social media to stay connected with each other. Two features of Instagram and Facebook that have become increasingly popular during the lockdown period are the “Live” and “Stories” functionalities, the former bringing people together in real time whilst the latter enables users to share multiple photos and videos in a slideshow format which disappear after 24 hours. Users often play recorded music over live streams and/or as part of their “Stories” to engage their viewers. Given the popularity, Instagram have implemented new guidelines for the use of recorded music in videos that are posted on Instagram and Facebook.

In its new guidelines (which can be viewed in full here), Instagram refers to licensing agreements that Instagram and Facebook have with rights holders which contain limitations around the amount of recorded music that can be included in videos and/or live broadcasts. As such, Instagram have recommended the following to allow users to plan their videos without breaching the terms of those licensing agreements (note that these guidelines are “consistent across live and recorded video on both Facebook and Instagram, and for all types of accounts - i.e. pages, profiles, verified and unverified accounts”):

  1. There are no limits on music in “Stories” or traditional musical performances (for example filming a band performing or a live artist).
  2. The greater the number of full-length recorded tracks in a video, the more likely that such use will be limited and potentially blocked/muted by Instagram (see below). For that reason, shorter clips of music are recommended.
  3. There should always be a visual component to any video posted as "recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video”.

In Product Video Notifications 

As part of the same guidelines, Instagram have stated that they are improving their in-product notifications which alert users when Instagram’s systems detect that use of music included in a broadcast or uploaded video is not adhering to Instagram’s licensing agreements. Such improvements include making it clear to users what they need to do to stop the interruption if their video is blocked or muted and making “notifications clearer and surfacing notifications earlier to live broadcasters, to give people time to adjust their streams and avoid interruptions if we detect they may be approaching our limitations.”

Instagram have also recommended users make use of Facebook’s “Sound Collections” – a library of custom music and sound effects at no cost. The collection contains thousands of tracks (spanning genres such as pop, jazz, hip-hop, country etc) which are available to be included without any limits in videos that users create and share on Instagram and Facebook.