If one thing's for certain, it's that TikTok completely changed the face of social media (for better or worse). The app has taken the world by storm and in doing so has become the hotbed of virtually everything viral that happens on the internet nowadays.
One important element of creating TikTok videos and their eventual virility is the audio clip that accompanies the uploaded video.
TikTok has seen a countless amount of song snippets, sound bytes, and other audio elements go viral and be reused millions of times, but who's making money off of all of that?
Well, it's not the creators in a lot of cases, it's people like Bob Tik, who has quietly copyrighted some of the most viral sound bits on the internet...none of which he made himself.
Who is Bob Tik? He seems to be claiming copyrights over various TikTok audio files.
On Jan. 10, 2023, TikTok user @slamuri took to the platform to call out someone by the name of Bob Tik. The video is captioned, "I am calling on every single creator on this platform. You need to see if you’re affected. I was a very small creator when it happened to me. To those who watched this I greatly thank you. I am willing to assist any way that I can."
In the video, @slamuri explains that the individual known as Bob Tik has been quietly filing for copyrights over various audio clips that have gone viral on the internet over the years. By doing this, Bob Tik is effectively profiting from audio clips that he did not create.
He uses a specific example of YouTuber Kinetic001 who @slamuri explains had a viral gaming clip 15 years ago that Bob Tik came in and copyrighted the audio from as his own.
That issue was addressed in a YouTube video by user 3klicksphilip, who called Bob Tik a "copyright troll" and shined a bit more light on how exactly he perpetrates these efforts. That video has been viewed nearly half a million times.
In the aforementioned TikTok, @slamuri explains that Bob Tik stole audio from a viral video that he created as well and in the process made roughly $25,000 off of licensing for the audio.
Bob Tik's true identity remains unknown for now.
Despite all this, @slamuri doesn't think there is any way for people to stop Bob Tik from doing what he's doing unless creators "band together and figure out his true identity" in an effort to force him to cease stealing audio.
As of the time of writing, there is no way to confirm the claims made by both @slamuri and 3klicksphilip. The situation has garnered some attention on Reddit where users are suggesting group legal action against Bob Tik, but there is no verifiable information about who he actually is, where he is from, and how the case would be pursued.
Per one intrepid Redditor who looked into Bob Tik, "Somebody pointed out that this might be a way they used to trick audio recognition algorithm. This also make sense because I've listened to some of their tracks, it usually have a small pause, an audio clip starts to play then it back to music again. [sic]"
The user went on to add, "For the 'Door Stuck' case, they outright used the original audio, looped and altered it then uploaded it as 'Stone Door' to trick copyright algorithm. So their scam involve: insert content into their 'music' to claim copyright, and use altered titles of their "music" to exploit legal loophole. [sic]"
With no verifiable information on Bob Tik, all users can do at this point is attempt to file for their own copyrights over viral audio clips from their videos.