Tiktok’s popularity increased substantially during the 2020 lockdown and continues to be THE platform that offers all types of content, from memes to cooking to dancing videos. Unsurprisingly, small-to-medium businesses and influencers alike have adopted and utilised the app to their advantage.
Due to YouTube’s dominance in the video content space, the platform has published a numerous number of regulations around content use and Copyright infringement. This has, understandably, been an automatic response by them to manage the large volume of original content videos, so what makes Tiktok so special? To put it simply, Tiktok is no different. Tiktok have some regulations, but they are not as strict because of how relatively new the platform is (“It’s like a reward”).
IP Rights and Copyright on Tiktok are quite interesting for a couple of reasons. Tiktok encourages collaboration between users, for example, stitches, sounds, and duets, which allow creators to reuse other creators’ content without any restrictions. It is also very easy to use Copyrighted material, such as a user can post visual and/or audio recordings of Copyrighted material from a TV or laptop screen.
But what does this all mean from a legal standpoint?
What even is Copyright?
Copyright aims to protect the expression of ideas, but not the actual original idea itself. Copyright is granted automatically. So, as soon as that idea is expressed in some tangible form, it is protected under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). In other words, you do not need to register Copyright in Australia. However, because of this, there is no registration procedure, no certificate to prove its existence, and no enforcement agency or body to establish infringement (“It’s not the vibe, stop”).
Trademark law is really the only area of IP law that offers protection, strategy, and leverage. Here at IP Partnership Lawyers, our team of solicitors are experts in Trademark registrations in both Australia and internationally, and we also assist clients with Trademark oppositions and the removal of Trademarks. Please see contact us to discuss further.
Is Copyright Infringement still relevant to my Tiktok Videos?
Tiktok has a Copyright Licence Agreement or IP Licencing Agreement with various labels and recording artists, so they have the right to offer the use of that Copyrighted music to end-users (being content creators, businesses, and influencers). Tiktok’s IP Policy states that Tiktok does not allow, “posting, sharing, or sending any content that violates or infringes someone else’s copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights”. Technically, you can still upload a song to Tiktok that isn’t in their library, but this runs the risk of the uploaded video being taken down by Tiktok (“It’s so bad I want to give you a 0, but that’s not possible, so I give you a 1”.)
The key takeaway here is that you should always be 100% sure that the content you are uploading is either your own original content, or if it is someone else’s content, you have their permission to use it (this may be through a licence). If you have created and posted your own 100% original content, you own it and your Tiktok videos are now your own property! However, keep in mind Tiktok’s End-User Licence Agreement (EULA), which allows Tiktok to distribute and share your content as they please (“I know something you don’t, I know someone you will never know”). If you suspect that someone has used your own original content without your permission, you can file a Copyright Infringement Report within Tiktok’s settings and have that content removed.
The Uncertain IP Future of Tiktok
Tiktok is still in its infancy, and over time we will see an increased number of regulations to minimise these IP issues. As such, small-to-medium businesses and content creators should be aware of the importance of long-term planning in IP protection.
Trademark law is the best area of IP law that offers protection, strategy, and leverage. Here at IP Partnership Lawyers, our team of solicitors are experts in Trademark registrations in both Australia and internationally, and we also assist clients with Trademark oppositions and the removal of Trademarks. Please see contact us to discuss further.
This blog provides general information and is not intended as legal advice specific to your circumstances. Please feel free to seek our professional legal advice if you have any particular questions, concerns, and/or queries.