From your use of the various exciting features on the TikTok app, you probably have had a fantastic time on it. You've viewed the creative contents uploaded by other users either in the same form of lip-syncing, comedy, drama and different types of videos. 

You might have also explored your own app's features to create your unique video content. But one saddening part of it is that you have limited time available to make your videos. The 60 seconds seem to be too small to express yourself. 

That's not even the worst part of it. You've likely experienced that your TikTok video is at times cut short to a 15 seconds playtime. So the big question pops up, why?. You can't seem to understand the reason behind that.

Why Is Tiktok Cutting My Clip Short
Well, the reasons are not far-fetched. If you've observed strictly, you'll notice that such issues arise when you've incorporated certain popular music as part of your video while editing. On other times without those sounds, you're allowed to upload a 60 seconds video content. But now, the presence of such sounds have cut short your video. So you can start narrowing down the reason for the audio attached.

Also, while editing your video, you might have observed that most the greats sound of your choice found on the platform is only 15 seconds play length. And the app no longer supports importing sounds from outside the platform. So all these are pointing that the significant reason for your clip being cut short lies within the sound.

Yes, the app is clamping down on users who are attempting on exceeding the limit they've set for video's using such sounds. And here's the reason why they are taking such a firm position.

TikTok entered an exclusive music agreement with music providers to allow only 15 seconds of play on their platform. Anything that exceeds that will be against the terms of that agreement, and that'll be tantamount to copyright infringement.

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Copyright infringement, how serious are they?

You might feel it's a minor issue, but the penalty for this offence isn't cheap. The creator of a content who possesses the copyright has certain exclusive rights to his work. Anyone or organisation who violates such proprietary rights is an infringer of that copyright.

They establish copyright infringement on these grounds-
  • When you've copied the work
  • There's a substantial similarity to the protectable elements in the exclusive rights of the owner.
Although there's a particular type of copying called de minimis because they do not establish substantial similarity with the copyright content, this term does not exclude short samples of a video clip from being criminal meme courts rarely apply the de minimis concept, instead will instruct you either get a license or do not example.

Copyright infringement is a serious offence and is "strict liability", which means that the infringer doesn't need to be proven to have the intent before he is held liable. Also, all those who encourage infringement and who profit from it can be held responsible for the breach. The penalty for this offence could even amount to paying the sum of $150,000.00 for willful infringement and possible criminal charges.

Although there is a limitation that limits the authority exercised by music copyright owners and permits others to use such work without the approval of the copyright owner, it is the doctrine of 'fair use'. But the short duration of the copyright infringement does not grant it a fair use status. Neither does the noncommercial use of it give it such.

Even with this level of restrictions, they've received lots of threats from music bodies on their continuous copyright infringement. According to a recent story published by the Financial Times, David Israelite, chief executive of the National Music Publishers Association, informed them on a possible lawsuit action as the likely future step. Also, Universal Music reports that it is yet to have any licensing agreement with TikTok.

It means that their songwriters like Billie Eilish,Taylor Swift,  Lady Gaga, and Elton John do not receive royalties whenever we incorporate their songs into those short TikTok videos. If the app faces a series of a lawsuit related to copyright infringement issues, they can shut down like other music sharing apps prior before them. So you can see how serious the issue is. The developers are putting in lots of effort and will continue to do so to remain in business.

Also, from the primary intent of the app's developers, they limit you to a few seconds of uploaded content. Even the name Tiktok, mimics the sound made by your wall clock ticking in seconds or the sound of your stopwatch. 

The shorter the video length, the better. It is because you can view more videos within a short time. And maybe for the boring videos, you don't regret wasting your valuable time viewing such. No long attention span is required. So quality is packed in such a short time.

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Verdict: TikTok videos are short because most of the videos need editing and many people use songs which longer than 15 seconds videos with using songs will be considered as copyright infringement so TikTok has contact with music companies to allow them use only 15 seconds of any songs and wouldn't be considered as copyright.


You've now seen why your exciting music app cuts your clip short. Not that the developers are not interested in granting their customers satisfaction, but a more significant issue is at stake. The penalty for copyright infringement issue is too big to pay. 

It could lead to their total shut down. Which would you prefer, continued enjoyment of your short video clip content or a compromise that allows lengthier uploads and then getting shut down in a few months?

They conscious of the severity of this matter, and this have necessitated the various actions they've taken to curb this issue. It even made them remove the option of importing sounds from outside the app, a feature that was present in the earlier versions. 

At the time even videos edited on a third-party app that has incorporated popular music of more than 15 seconds are automatically trimmed by the TikTok app before you're able to upload.