JaQuel Knight and Logitech copyright TikTok dances for creators
Future. JaQuel Knight (choreographer for artists like Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion) and computer company Logitech are helping the creators of popular TikTok dances copyright their moves so they can monetize their success. The organizations’ partnership may broaden the conversation about creative ownership online and open up a new revenue stream for creators.
The JaQuel Knight Foundation and Logitech want to make sure that the choreographers of trending dances on social platforms get properly compensated.
The organizations secured “labanotations” — a score that documents human movement through symbols in specific patterns — for six creators:
- Keara Wilson, creator of the “Savage” dance
- Shayné and Zhané Stanley (the Nae Nae Twins), creators of the dance for the “Savage Remix”
- Young Deji, creator of “The Whoa“
- Mya Johnson and Chris Cotter, creators of the “Up” dance
- Fullout Cortland (That Fullout Guy), choreographer of Doja Cat’s 2020 Billboard Music Awards performance
- Chloe Arnold, choreographer of “Salute a Legend” for Syncopated Ladies
The labanotations will be submitted with completed applications from each dancer to the U.S. Copyright Office for review — a process that could take three to four months.
Strike a pose
Knight noted how difficult it is for dancers to copyright their moves because they have to prove their invention of a “sequence of movements, rather than a single move.”
But as the dances have become so popular on platforms such as TikTok and Insta, minted influencers millions of dollars, and have been co-opted by major brands, it’s only fair that the original creators of the moves share in the glory. The issue has peaked in recent weeks as Black TikTok creators have proposed to “strike” the platform to highlight the disparity.
Knight said, “we’re seeing the dance being the main character, and in the end, the dance is not getting compensated how the other supporting characters or the background actors are. It’s all about starting to treat and respect the choreography in the same way that we’re respecting the music.”