And if you’re spending much time on social media these days, you’re probably assuming that there are a ton of great content creators out there. Because frame-for-frame copycat content and dance routine knock-offs have taken the socials by storm.
Not to go all Old Man Waving at Cloud on you, but there’s a fine line between spring-boarding off an idea and just ripping off someone else’s content to steal their likes out from under them.
To paraphrase the old VHS (remember those?) anti-piracy campaign: You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a movie. So don’t go pirating someone else’s viral content!
But look, I get it. Old-school film directors aren’t begging fans to remix their work or creating collab challenges. Whereas on social media, “original content” can be just that.
Not sure where influence ends and plagiarism begins in this topsy-turvy world of remixes, collabs and viral dance memes? Here’s how to play it straight – and avoid tarnishing those social relationships you’ve worked so hard to build!
1) Know the difference between trends and intellectual property
A trend is something that lends itself to duplicating, though we always recommend to give your spin or hot take on the trend so it’s relevant for you and your audience. It might be a video format, a challenge, a specific joke, a “reusable” voiceover, or a collaboration invitation. You can piggyback on a trend by creating your own new content informed by the original.
Intellectual property is the actual Instagram Reel, story, video or TikTok, and the unique way that thing is put together and communicated. It covers specific copy, imagery, voiceovers and so on.
Your new trend-inspired content can showcase the spirit of the thing, but it shouldn’t be the fake LV handbag version of the thing itself. (Satire and parody get a pass here, but make sure you know what you’re doing!)
2) Give credit where it’s due (and hint, it’s ALWAYS due)
Even if you know your content is brilliant and original and won’t get the lawyers or your fellow followers fired up, if its origin story has its roots anywhere other than your own brain, give credit. It’s the neighborly thing to do.
Taken inspiration from someone? Joining in on a trend? Sharing a great tip from a brilliant business mind? Using choreography that some other dance whiz came up with? Re-upping a meme? Say it with me: give 👏credit.👏
Add those credit links, tags and @ mentions in your Reels, stories, and posts. It’s quick, it’s free, and it’s the right thing to do. Plus it’s a great way to build connection and bring extra eyeballs to your page. If in doubt, give kudos to the build out!
The bottomline? Jump on that trend! But always make it your own – and acknowledge your inspirations and influences. Hey, if Oscar Winners can do it in their acceptance speeches, you can, give some social media love to those creators in your orbit.
(Inspired to turn this post into an all-singing, all-dancing challenge Reel? Go for it. But you know what to do, and who to tag!) Need a sprinkle of inspiration? Head on over to the ‘gram now!