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DIY TikToker copycat feud raises the question: On TikTok, who gets the credit?

Posted by Caroline Edwards in Comment

10 months ago

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but not for US maximalist DIY creator Tay BeepBoop, who started a feud with fellow DIY TikToker Kaarin Staalsen (Kaarin Joy) in early August. Tay was annoyed that Staalsen “copied” some of her interiors ideas – but as an influencer, shouldn’t she want people to be inspired by her content?

Tay has since deleted her initial video, where she called out Staalsen for copying her. This included her DIY moss mirror, her boyfriend’s monster head wall art (which Staalsen made with dinosaur heads), green squiggle wall art, having the same green and blue colour palette and – the claim people are most annoyed about – using the wallpaper from Tay’s Otto Studio collaboration. How dare she?

Staalsen responded and explained she had been friendly with Tay but two months ago, Tay asked Staalsen to stop making her DIYs, before blocking her. Staalsen explained: “I think it’s so crazy to say that no one else can decorate in colour or have similar colours to you.” Exactly – no one has a monopoly on colour or design aesthetics.

Following the drama, Tay lost her wallpaper deal with Otto Studio and issued an apology, which people found insincere. No one likes a copycat, but in the example of Tay’s wallpaper collection – a business venture for both parties – surely the aim should be for it to sell out and be used in people’s homes.

This has been the general consensus and TikTok quickly sided with Staalsen. Following the feud, users have been trolling Tay with comments such as “You need to credit Michelangelo for those clouds on the ceiling”. They also congratulated Staalsen for reaching two million followers (she now has 2.1 million and Tay has 1.9 million).

People are disappointed with Tay’s actions. Creator Yaya painted over a mural Tay’s content had inspired her to create and noted that Tay’s video had “mean girl energy”.

In the midst of the drama, creators are exposing Tay. London-based artist Sebastian Sochan pulled out the receipts and noted that Staalsen regularly credited Tay in her videos and argued that Tay didn’t come up with the idea for the mossy mirror. In a deleted video, former friend Adelina called out Tay’s behaviour and noted: “Social media is all about building off of each other’s ideas. And that is exactly how Taylor started too and how she’s built what she has so far.”

Wider TikTok credit issue

Everyone wants to be original and the feud is reminiscent of a wider and more serious issue, which is that people often don’t get properly credited when they start TikTok trends. In 2021, US TikToker Addison Rae performed dances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that were mainly created by Black creators. However, Rae faced backlash for not giving these creators any credit.

More recently, in May, Oslo-based TikToker Yasmin Hero introduced a new way to film videos to showcase outfits with David Vu, which got incorrectly credited to It girl Sofia Richie Grainge when she recreated it in June, with people coining it the “Sofia Richie walk” (2.4M views).

There is a fine line between being inspired and ripping off ideas, and TikTokers regularly discuss their experiences with people copying their content. In 2022, to help combat this, TikTok introduced a creator credit tool so people can ensure the original creator gets recognised. When in doubt, best to always credit the original creator – they may be difficult to find but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

TikTok should be used as a tool for creativity and enjoyment – that includes getting interiors inspiration and DIY ideas. As TikToker Annie (Anniesright) put it: “If you don’t want anybody to ever take any type of inspiration from you, don’t call yourself an influencer and don’t post.”

By Caroline Edwards, CORQ news and features writer. Picture credit: Tay BeepBoop via Instagram