Here are the answers to some initial questions you may have:

  • Why do I have to worry about copyright laws now?

    Copyright legislation and licensing obligations have always existed, and it’s important that all creators are fairly compensated for their work. By accepting Spotify’s terms and conditions, users have agreed to abide by these laws prior to uploading content onto our platform. With rising enforcement around the globe, anyone working directly with podcasts, user-generated content (UGC), labels, or creators need to be aware of and understand how to properly use copyrighted material and avoid infringement.

  • Okay, but what does copyright infringement actually mean?

    Copyright infringement is using someone else’s copyrighted work without permission, and when no other exceptions that would allow the use apply.

  • So, how does this impact me as a podcast creator?

    To ensure that none of your episodes will be flagged for potential copyright infringement by IP rights holders, it’s important that you ensure your podcast is legally compliant. Repeated infringement means your content, catalogue, and even your account could be taken down. No one wants that. So make sure you carefully review your catalogue to ensure you are in compliance.

  • What should I expect next from Spotify?

    Spotify has built a system that will proactively alert creators when their podcast episodes might be at risk. If we think a piece of content may violate copyright laws, Spotify will send an email flagging the episode(s) in question so you can address it before it gets taken down. You will then have an opportunity to either assert your rights to the content, or find an alternative solution.

We are sure you have more questions; keep scrolling or head to our FAQ section for more.

Here are some common misconceptions around intellectual property laws:

I’m okay to use any music, as long as it falls within the “under 10 seconds” rule.


Just because you use a short clip of music doesn’t mean you have the rights to do so.

It’s all good, I provided credit to the original rights holder on a webpage or at the end of my audio content.


Giving attribution doesn’t make it okay to use copyrighted music without permission.

Don’t worry, my show isn’t making money, so it’s okay to use any music or audio content however I’d like.


It doesn’t matter if your show is not-for-profit or helping you make a living—you still need to follow copyright laws.

I’ve heard about “fair use” and I think I should be fine.


“Fair use” can be a way to legally use copyrighted materials without permission in the U.S., but the rules of what constitutes fair use aren’t so straightforward. If you are relying on fair use or a similar principle, make sure you're doing so properly.

Could Your Podcast Content Be in Violation of Copyright Laws?

Follow the path below to find out if your content may be in violation of copyright policies, and if so, how to find the best way forward.

Start Here:

Does your podcast use any third-party content?
Does it include third-party content, like content from broadcasts, movies, or live events?

You’re probably safe!

Your content may be infringing on copyright laws. Please consider swapping out the third-party content with rights-free options.

Has it been recently flagged or taken down?

So I’m not sure if I’m in violation.

To avoid violating current policies or having your content flagged in the future, we recommend either:

  1. Replacing the third-party content with royalty-free or rights-cleared content (for example, if your podcast is on Anchor, check out Smart Background Music within the app).
  2. Making sure the content you use is properly licensed.
  3. For our creators in the United States or other eligible markets, consider heading to Anchor and creating a Music + Talk show.

Yes, it has been flagged. What can I do?

If your content has been flagged as potentially infringing copyright law, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Use the link within the email you received to assert your rights for the third-party content within the indicated time frame.
  2. If you don’t have the rights to the third-party content, your content will be removed.

Yes, it has been taken down. What can I do?

If your content has been taken down for violating current copyright law, there are a few things you can do to get it back up:

  1. You can appeal the decision by replying to the email you received about your content being taken down and explain why the episode does not violate copyright laws.
  2. Using Anchor’s rights-cleared and royalty-free alternative tool (Smart Background Music), or by not using any unlicensed third-party content, you can recreate your content and re-upload onto the platform.
  3. For our creators in the United States or other eligible markets, consider heading to Anchor and creating a Music + Talk show.


Why is Spotify doing this?

Spotify is committed to supporting creators and ensuring a fair and equitable audio environment for all, both music and podcast creators. Copyright infringement and the removal of content in violation is a legal obligation that Spotify must comply with globally. All creators agree to these same principles when signing up for our service. We want to communicate transparently and clearly to ensure all creators understand the process and can successfully protect their content.

Where can I find more information about copyright law?

You can find more information here.

Does this only apply to new content?

No. These laws apply to all past, present, and future work.

Are there any exceptions?

There are some exceptions to copyright protection, but they differ from country to country. Please make sure to refer to this link for regional-specific questions.

What does “fair use” mean?

Fair use is a legal doctrine in the United States that provides a limited defense to copyright infringement. It is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for limited purposes like commentary and criticism. Other countries also have exceptions to copyright infringement, but these rules vary from country to country, and what may be OK in the United States may still violate copyright law in other parts of the world. Read more about U.S. fair use law here, exceptions to copyright in EU countries here, and exceptions to U.K. copyright here.

Help! I’ve found some pieces that may violate copyright laws. What should I do?

If you’ve reviewed your content and identified some uses that may violate copyright laws, you can always find ways to update your podcast. For example, consider using rights-free or rights-pre-cleared libraries or other public resources you can use in your podcasts without any issues. Alternatively, you can obtain licenses for the third-party content directly with the rights holders. You could also consider turning your podcast into a Music + Talk show. Shows using this format rely on Spotify’s music catalog licenses and compensate artists just like any regular stream of a music track on Spotify. Right now, Music + Talk is only available to creators based in the U.S. and certain eligible markets. Learn more about Anchor’s Music + Talk feature and availability here.

If a song is in another podcast, doesn’t that mean I can use it freely?

No. Each podcaster may have their own licenses with rights holders or may use music in a different way, so just because someone else did it doesn’t mean you can.

What if I just use one second of a clip? Could that still be copyright infringement?

Yes! Even short snippets and a second of a clip can be infringing, and there is no such thing as a “10-second rule.”

What type of content would be considered third-party copyrighted material?

Any original works (e.g., music, sound clips, interviews, poetry, plays, or other works) not created by you could be considered third-party copyrighted material. If you’d like to include third-party music in your podcast, an easy tool is Anchor’s pre-cleared catalogue of rights-free music called Smart Background Music.

I received a notice that there is copyrighted music in my podcast(s). What additional information do I need to provide?

Please click the “review music” link in the email that you received. From there you’ll be taken to a form where you’ll be able to provide us with more information about the music in your podcast(s). You will need to let us know whether the music in your podcast was directly licensed, qualifies for an exception, or may have been flagged in error.

I want to make a show about music. Is there a way for me to do that without having to reach out to rights holders and obtaining authorization for each song?

Please see our FAQ about our Music + Talk feature for more information about how to create and submit a show. Please be sure to follow the guidelines provided to ensure that your episode(s) are approved. Note that this feature is currently only available to users in certain markets.

How do I unpublish flagged episodes?

You can remove reported episodes through the webform that is linked in the initial email notice that you received.

What songs can I use instead of the songs that were reported?

If your podcast is hosted on Anchor, check out our rights-free background music catalogue called Smart Background Music, available within the Anchor app.

I received a notice that there is copyrighted material in my podcast(s), but only some episodes with music were reported to me. Do I need to review all of the episodes that have music in them?

Yes, it’s possible that episodes that have not yet been reported to you may be reported by music rights holders. We recommend reviewing all of your podcast episodes.

Still have questions? No problem!

We recommend you check out some of these useful resources. We’ve got your back with everything from myths and truths surrounding copyright infringement to handy pages where you can get royalty-free content to use on your podcasts instead. Freebies plus avoiding infringement and potential content take-down? Win-win.