In a perfect world, no one would ever steal photos or videos. But in this world, you need to know how to report stolen Instagram content.
What do I mean by stolen Instagram content? When someone takes an original video or photo that you’ve posted and shares it as their own without giving you credit. That’s intellectual property theft and it sucks.
The good news is that Instagram does actually have an official way to report stolen content, and they usually do take action on the reports if you take the time to file one.
I’ve helped a few of you report stolen Instagram content recently, so I thought it was worth writing out the instructions for anyone else who might be wondering!
How to report stolen Instagram content.
When I find an account that has stolen my Instagram content, I usually start with a polite but firm message asking them to edit the caption to credit me as the photographer. If that doesn’t work, I file a Copyright Infringement Report with Instagram.
This is how Instagram defines copyright:
Copyright is a legal right that seeks to protect original works of authorship (ex: books, music, film, art).
Generally, copyright protects original expression such as words or images. It does not protect facts and ideas, although it may protect the original words or images used to describe an idea. Copyright also doesn’t protect things like names, titles and slogans; however, another legal right called a trademark might protect those.”
Someone stealing your original image or video and posting on their own Instagram account without giving you credit is copyright violation.
This will take you to a Copyright FAQ page. Click on the tiny hyperlink at the end of the first paragraph that says “this form” to go to the actual form.
The form starts by asking you if you’re reporting a copyright or a trademark infringement. We’re talking simple copyright violation today, so that’s what you’re going to select.
Here’s what’s next:
If someone has stolen your photos or videos and posted them as their own without your permission, you want “I found content which I believe infringes my copyright.”
Next, Instagram will remind you that copyright reporting is serious business and you shouldn’t do it unless someone’s actually violated your copyright. Again, if someone has taken your original photos/videos and posted them on Instagram without your permission or proper credit, that’s a violation of your copyright.
It’s pretty straightforward from here, but I’m going to walk you through it anyway. This has happened to me enough times that I think everyone on IG should know how to report stolen Instagram content.
Next up is contact information.
If you’re not a business, you still own the copyright to a photo/video you took. Just put “Other/Not Applicable” for job responsibility.
The form will ask you for a mailing address, phone number, and email address. I don’t know why it wants a mailing address or phone number; I’ve filed a ton of these reports and I’ve only ever gotten confirmation email afterwards.
Please note that Instagram says they might reveal your full name and email address to the person you’re reporting, so please be thoughtful about what contact information you choose to provide.
If you created the Instagram content that was stolen, you are the rights owner. And I don’t know which country you live in, but I assume that you can handle that part.
Don’t worry, there’s just a bit more! It takes a while to report stolen Instagram content, but it’s worth it.
If you’re reading this tutorial, you’re probably reporting a stolen photo or video. This is where you link to the stolen Instagram content: the post that you’re reporting, not your own original post.
To get an Instagram post’s URL: go to the post and look for the three dots above the image, in the upper right hand corner. When you tap on the dots, you should get the option “copy link.” Tap “copy link,” and then you’ll have the URL!
If you’re looking at Instagram on your phone but reporting the stolen Instagram content on your computer, you may want to email yourself the URL from your phone so you don’t have to retype it.
Now you have to go find your original Instagram post as proof that this is your content and you were the one who created it. (Or proof of wherever you first posted this original content: blog, Instagram, Tumblr, whatever.) You can also attach additional documentation, if necessary.
And that’s it! It takes a little while, but this method has never failed me. After reporting an account that’s using stolen Instagram content, I usually block them so that it’ll be harder for them to steal from me in the future.
There’s been an uptick recently in fraudulent accounts that use stolen Instagram content from jewelry lovers in order to fake a large inventory that they don’t actually have. This is straight up fraud, and if you see a photo you recognize on an account like this that’s pretending to sell jewelry they don’t own, definitely DM the original poster so that they can report the stolen Instagram content.
If you need to report Instagram abuse of a different kind – say someone hacked your account or is impersonating you – Instagram has forms for those things here on this page.
Hopefully you’ll never need any of these instructions, but this post will be here for you in case you ever do. Hopefully it’s clear, but feel free to ask questions in the comments!