Kera Wilson claims copyright over “Savage” dance move
Tik Tok is infamous for presenting content that is often deemed as innocuous, repeated, and unoriginal. Creators on the platform would indulge in mass-producing the same type of content for views, either lip-syncing a famous dialogue or doing a viral dance move to hop on the trend.
Often the original creator of the viral choreography does not reap any benefits in terms of recognition or monetary returns. Byte Dance, the owner of Tik Tok is planning to change this. After several protests to dispel people from capitalizing on dance moves, Tik Tok decided to allow creators to gain copyright over their steps.
The demand for copyrighting Tik Tok dance moves began when Keara Wilson the creator of the #Savage dance move spoke about how millions of users have recreated her moves without giving her due credit or asking for permission.
The #Savage dance trend became so popular that even celebrities started grooving on it, in fact, Addison Rae performed the hook steps of the challenge at Jimmy Fallon’s show as well. While the hook step was just a part of the show, she still received endorsements, recognition, and prime-time spotlight. No one appreciated the original creator, Kera Wilson.
Jaquel Knight the mastermind behind Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion’s chorography became the first person to claim copyright for his dance moves. He then teamed up with Logitech to help other creators get suitable compensation and copyright for their moves and challenges. This was done through a process of “labanotation”
This is a tedious process that may take up to 4 months to complete but would guarantee compensation to the original creators. In this process one is expected to “document dance steps with symbols in specific pattern” said a spokesperson from Knight and Logitech’s partnership.
With proper copyrighting laws in place, one could give credit to Black choreographers gain credit for their work that non-Black creators have been profiting off of on TikTok.
Keara Wilson (“Savage” dance), Young Deji (“The Woah” dance), Fullout Courtland (choreographers behind the “Say So” dance Doja Cat performed at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards), the Nae Nae Twins (“Savage Remix” dance creators), Chloe Arnold (choreographer behind “Salute A Legend” for Syncopated Ladies), and Mya Johnson and Chris Cotter (“Up” dance) are the creators currently working with Knight and Logitech.
Once Wilson’s “Savage” dance is copyrighted, she (and other creators undergoing the same process) will be able to receive payment when her moves are featured in a film, video game, etc.—or take legal action if proper credit isn’t given.