Research Perspectives on TikTok & Its Legacy Apps| You Made This? I Made This: Practices of Authorship and (Mis)Attribution on TikTok

D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye, Aleesha Rodriguez, Katrin Langton, Patrik Wikström


In 2019, TikTok captivated international attention as a breakout short-video platform with numerous features that facilitates recreating popular videos with ease. TikTok’s platform feature “use this sound” affords the creative reuse of audio clips or songs from videos that users were just watching. TikTok employs an automated system to identify original creators but the system frequently obscures or misattributes the “original” source of the audio. Subsequent creators may then use sounds without any connection to the original author. In response, creators have developed unique platform practices to overcome cultures of misattribution engendered on TikTok. This study employs a mixed-methods approach to investigate novel attributional platform practices relating to authorship and attribution on TikTok. Using a bespoke data scraping tool, quantitative content analysis, and a series of qualitative case studies, this study explores the contradictory logic of authorship and how (mis)attribution is shaping cultural production and platform practices on TikTok.


TikTok, attribution, copyright, platformization, aural memes

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