TikTok, as one of the world’s current leading apps in social media and entertainment, has billions of videos circulating throughout the app.
Many of them are copies of copies of original content, songs, dances, jokes, images, costumes, etc. that many TikTok users re-do, adapt, parody, or make better over time.
This is the way that TikTok operates, and it doesn’t look like it will change any time soon.
But this does beg a few questions: are my videos copyrighted, and can I use someone else’s video for my own gain?
Does TikTok Own My Content & Videos?
TikTok does not own the creative rights of your videos, songs, dances, jokes, etc. However, TikTok does have some ownership over the data that you post to their app. Therefore, they are able to use them as advertisements or release to authorities if there is a legal warrant or need to.
Furthermore, your creative content isn’t always copyrighted just because you posted it to the site. For example, someone could repeat your dance or do a cover of your songs, and it wouldn’t be considered copyright.
However, other individuals cannot use your video and post it elsewhere for gain, such as financial or to claim it as their own.
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Who Owns Your Content and Videos on TikTok?
Do you really own your own content?
Well, to an extent, yes, you do.
Anything you create and post to TikTok technically and rightfully belongs to you. TikTok has the ability to share your video for advertising purposes based on their EULA (End-User License Agreement), but your video is still your own.
The issue that comes up is when you delete your TikTok account – all data, content, videos, etc. that you yourself didn’t download and save to a different device or platform, is removed by the app. It essentially wipes everything clean.
This makes sense if you want to completely get rid of your account, and the app is obliging by removing any trace that you were there.
However, do they own those videos?
No, not really. They have ownership over the data that you provide and create, but if you delete your account, they must remove that data.
Are Videos on TikTok Copyrighted?
User-Generated Content, although technically your creation, is not necessarily copyrighted.
For example, if you create a dance and post it to TikTok, and millions of other users adopt that dance to add to their own videos without explicitly crediting you, does that mean they have created copyright infringement?
Well, in short, no.
While there are others that might repeat it, change it, or adapt from it and get more famous than you on TikTok, UGC is technically free data you are uploading for fun, not profit.
Trying to get angry or legal with someone who copies your style or reuses your joke is a long, tedious, and sometimes meaningless endeavor that will only flag you as a difficult or angry person to work with.
Furthermore, if you haven’t actually copyrighted, branded, or created a company in order to create that content (such as dances, quotes, theatrical skits, etc.), it is even harder to claim that you were the first to invent it.
However, if you are a singer-songwriter and you post your original, copyrighted songs to TikTok and users post it, claiming that they created it, you will then have a case for copyright infringement.
Finally, if you’re looking to post your stuff online without it being repurposed, memed, parodied, adapted or changed, don’t use TikTok.
Those are the most common usages of UGC on the site, and to get angry about it is to miss the entire point of the app.
However, Tik Tok will review videos before they go up in some cases.
Can You Avoid the Copyright Rules on TikTok?
If you are someone who downloads and then uploads TikTok videos in a compilation to YouTube, you can run into some copyright problems.
While these rules aren’t always enforced on YouTube, you are essentially stealing content in order to try to make money off of views.
This is because YouTube complications of TikTok or Vine videos can sometimes have millions of views! Those who created the compilation will try to get those views monetized, which can result in a lot of money.
However, YouTube and Copyright laws state that the use of someone else’s content in order to turn a profit is considered illegal and within the realm of copyright infringement.
Therefore, while you can share, discuss, reference, and otherwise emulate or parody TikTok videos, you can’t outright steal and download them elsewhere for your own profitable gain.
Can You Remove Your Videos and Content From TikTok?
If you decide that you no longer want to be part of the TikTok crowd, you can absolutely remove your videos and content from the site.
This is as simple as deleting your account. Once an account is deleted, TikTok must remove all data that you uploaded from the site entirely.
However, if you created a song, dance, or joke on the app that others have repurposed for their own channels, those cannot be deleted. This is because they have created original content that has piggy-backed off of your idea.
Those other videos cannot be removed because you yourself did not make them and upload them to the site.
You don’t need to worry about battery and storage space on your phone from using Tik Tok, so that should not be the reason to delete the app.
What Can TikTok Do With My Videos and My Content?
TikTok is allowed to use your videos, content, dances, jokes, etc. as advertisements for their site.
TikTok may reach out to you and make you aware of their use of your content in order to try and get new users to the app, but they also may not.
According to their EULA (End-User License Agreement), which you agree to when joining the site, they can use your content for advertising purposes.
This means that you might see your videos on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, or other sites that users can scroll past as an advertisement. It usually isn’t the full video unless the video is only about three to four seconds long.
Instead, it is a snippet of the video, and usually, TikTok only uses really famous, popular or well-liked videos for their advertisements – these are videos with millions of views and likes.
This is something that some TikTok users hope for, while others don’t know it is even a possibility!
If you don’t like the idea of TikTok having access to your videos, consider using a different site – as agreeing to this term is required in order to use and download the app.
How Safe is My Data With TikTok?
According to TikTok, they are allowed to use the data that you post to their site in order to create advertisements or to release to legal authorities if an inquest were to require it.
This means that if you were suspected of engaging in illegal activity, and a warrant was issued for access to your videos, TikTok is able to do that.
They can also post snippets of your videos for advertisement purposes to get more users to download the app.
Advertisement videos that are chosen by TikTok usually have millions of views and likes, and TikTok usually notifies the user if they are going to feature it in an advertisement.
It is unclear if TikTok pays users for their content.
Finally, TikTok does keep track of data such as your age, gender, and other demographic features in order to report on that information to sites that might want to advertise to you based on who you are.