COVID Diaries Week 33: TikTok, Creativity, and IP.

I have been spending a lot of time on tiktok recently, and there is a fascinating meta discourse there about origination and creativity.

One element of one video gets appropriated and remixed in a new context by someone else, who then gets the acclaim for the work.

The new work is often better. It has remixed new elements that enhance the meme. However, there then emerges a fight over the authentic genius of the work.

Often, the remixer is more connected, often they are more white, pretty, saleable, popular.

Increasingly, there is a need to shout-back to the originator from day one (not when it becomes popular and others are demanding it).

For example, if I copy / remix someone else’s dance moves I might cc the originator using “dc”.

This interplay of stealing, building upon, including, #winning is relevant to many other creative arts (including, for example, “thought leadership”).

What I like about tiktok is that it is young people, standing in their power, demanding a conscious process around recognition. We can learn a lot from that.

I wrote the above in the context of the appropriation of common knowledge by “thought leaders” on a LinkedIn thread.

I thought about it some more…

Appropriation is built into the model for the tiktok app. The remix is core to its virality. Therefore it is ok to copy, transform, and combine (the 3 basic elements of creativity). Creativity is the act of working out loud, by its nature.

At the beginning, we make, and share, because it is the art of learning. We stand on the shoulders of others. We have no expectations. At some point, it can become a business, and this is when the tension arises about who did what, when.

Same with business ideas / thought leadership. When we discuss, it is the co-created work. It is enjoyable and freeing. Once we try to monetize, it becomes IP. At some time we have probably all been involved in a discussion about “Bob”, who was part of our network conversations and who then suddenly is trying to claim ownership of our shared ideas. The advantage of tiktok is there is an audit trail of where it all began.

The more we work out loud, the clearer the genesis story. So yes, young people are more likely to be able to claim the ownership, and acclaim their genius.

This Much We Know.

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