TikTok’s popularity soared to new heights during the COVID-19 pandemic, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Teens and other users (including us!) can’t get enough of the platform that mostly features addictive and compelling short clips with user-generated content.
Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook also offer entertaining and insightful content, but have you ever wondered why different rules apply to TikTok? Is TikTok subject to copyright laws? Do you need a TikTok lawyer if you use it as a content creator? Let’s discuss below:
Do TikTokers seem to get away with a lot more than other influencers when it comes to music? That’s because the platform has a number of license agreements with various labels and artists. These professionals in the music industry grant permission for TikTok to add their music to its library in exchange for royalties. Therefore, TikTokers can include songs in their content, as long as they’ve downloaded them from the TikTok library and nowhere else.
Are there exceptions to this? Certainly. You are allowed to feature your original music. Copyright-free music also gets a nod, but you should err on the side of caution because it’s difficult to find copyright-free music without a creator being credited.
A TikTok lawyer can offer you clarity on this matter if you are an influencer. They can shed light on some of the terms of the license agreements, which may address questions such as: “How long will the songs be licensed?” and “Can the license be revoked?”. Be sure to include your parents in the conversation if you are under 18 years old.
It’s important to note that copyright law extends to other forms of creative expression such as artwork, film, and photos. To cover all bases, TikTok’s copyright policy specifies that the platform “does not allow posting, sharing, or sending any content that violates or infringes someone else’s copyrights, trademarks or other intellectual property rights.” If you are an influencer, you should tread lightly—the penalties for copyright infringement include video removals and, after a few strikes, account termination.
Your TikTok lawyer can help you to avoid legal pitfalls by ensuring that you:
- Upload music strictly from the TikTok library if it’s not your original music
- Are allowed to film in places such as historical sites
- Check whether your images, voice recordings, and video footage are protected by copyright law before posting
- Seek permission from the persons in your videos before posting
- Avoid defamation and hate speech
Likewise, you can file a Copyright Infringement Report if someone uses your content without your permission. TikTok will remove the video if they deem the complaint to be valid.
The content belongs to you if you created it. However, copyright protects the expression of ideas rather than the actual ideas. This is why users can share your content without breaching the copyright law once your account is public and your download option is enabled.
Additionally, if you are working with brands as an influencer, you should consider an influencer agreement. It would be prudent to ask your TikTok lawyer to draft one to ensure that all the parties involved are on the same page. The agreement should stipulate:
- The type of content to be included
- Who should be held accountable if the influencer infringes on the copyright law
- The rightful owner of the content
- How often you should post
- How you’ll get paid
- Whether you are an employee or independent contractor
TikTok Lawyers at RM Warner Law
Perhaps you have further questions regarding TikTok and the legalities involved, all of which can be answered by the team at RM Warner Law. We will provide the answers and guidance you need to reduce the stress that sometimes comes with content creation. Call us today or request an online consultation!