TikTok is the new Vine in the ways of short videos going viral and people love everything about it.
Except ownership over content created isn’t given to the creators when they come up with dance challenges.
TikTok is a social media platform based around short, 15 to 60 second video clips set to music. The performances vary in content, style, genre — and originality.
There have been some cases where a dance is being popularized by celebrities and other TikTok users.
In a most recent case, a dance known as The Renegade was created by 14 year old Jalaiah Harmon and spread across the service.
In another instance, Jahkara J. Smith has had her audio from her Youtube channel stolen without her consent and put onto Tiktok. She’s been actively trying to get it taken down without any success.
The problem is when people aren’t given credit initially. When the opportunity for credit does arise, people often give it to the more popular users instead of the actual creators.
Tara Cuslidge-Staiano, mass communications professor, says the way content is viewed is different, and this generation doesn’t look to give credit even though copyright exists.
Harmon actually tried to have others credit her for her dance but was ignored while Tiktok “creators” Charli D ‘Amelio and Addison Easterling, who had a broader audience and got the dance more popularized, got to teach the dance at events like the NBA All Star Weekend.
In the end, Harmon and her friend Skylar were given the spotlight when the rapper K-Camp, whose song “Lottery” is used for the Renegade dance, posted a video of them and giving them the credit, which lead to everyone knowing that she was the original creator of the dance.
TikTok users often don’t care about copyright though, and the service has ways of getting around it.
In the case of Smith’s audio, Tiktok user yeahimcarolie1 stripped audio from Smith’s Youtube video and uploaded it under her account as her audio. That means that it should be taken down by Tiktok since Smith, herself, never uploaded it or gave permission to anyone.
However, material can only be used by other Tiktok-ers if the creator has a TikTok account — which Smith does not. Her only option is to try and get the videos taken down — which is harder than it looks.
Smith wrote on her Twitter “as long as big names and brands refuse to fact-check where viral content comes from, they’re complicit in the oppression of black creatives.”
Give credit where credit is due and not try to steal creators’ content just because it made you popular.
It isn’t hard to look for the creators of something to seek permission. At the very least, when they ask for you not to use their content accept it. It’s theirs, not yours.