Content Creators are Struggling With Systematic Weaknesses, Copyright and Racial

Content creators on platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are discovering that not all creators are created equal, even when they are the source.

Especially Black creators are learning that it take more than great dance moves to be taken seriously. Followers, not just ten’s of thousands of them, but ten’s of millions of them are necessary to monetize their work. Those will that level frequently have not provided attribution, leading to a battle about are fellow creators being treated fairly by some social media platforms and socmed celebrities that enable them.

The latest Intangible Investor column on IP Watchdog, ‘Creator Frustration Over TikTok Reflects System Weaknesses—Both Racial and Copyright,’ looks at the conundrum for many talented creators who hope to make a living from social media.

What does this mean for Black and other creators who believe their content would be worth more if it was not being pilfered by celebrities? The likelihood of an audience of followers the size of Addison Rae or Charli’ D’Amelio (125+ million) is incredibly rare. It may be wiser to take the substantial handful of followers a creator may have generated, say 100,000 or even 50,000, and establish a monetizable presence.

“It is virtually impossible to go head-to-head on social media in a pure numbers game,” said article author, Bruce Berman, Managing Director of Brody Berman Associates and Chairman of the nonprofit Center for Intellectual Property Understanding. “If success cannot be attained through copyright it can at least be facilitated by source credit or endorsement. That is a relatively new currency that creators are just beginning to leverage.”

It does not excuse infringement, but it may not only soften the blow, it may be worth more than the licensing income would otherwise generate.

Using TikTok content without credit may be theft even if it is not copyright infringement. It is certainly unethical. For those whose history is shadowed by cultural appropriation it is particularly painful. Hiring a lawyer to go after infringers may be a zero-sum game with which most photographers and many song writers are well acquainted. The answer may be to use source credit to build on. Without source credit there is only copyright strategy, and currently many content providers do not believe that amounts to very much.

Without source credit there is only copyright strategy, and currently many content providers do not believe that amounts to very much.

“While the social media terrain may currently look like the Wild West, where only the biggest and baddest survive,” continues Berman. “it can be tamed if creators and viewers agree that good behavior is as important as strong rights. Social media does not have to have the final word on who gets paid and how.”

To read the complete Intangible Investor post, including video examples of apparent creator theft, go here.

For more on content creators, visit here.

Image source: youtube via


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