A legal document released this week showed TikTok argue in court that “a wide swath” of the content on their platform has “no economic value at all.” This was part of a request for injunction VS Donald Trump and the US government’s order to stop TikTok operations in the United States. The executive order signed by Trump called upon IEEPA – which they pointed out cannot regulate or prohibit (directly or indirectly) any personal communication “which does not involve a transfer of anything of value.”
In the legal document released this week, TikTok’s lawyers note that the Secretary’s prohibitions* will ‘have the effect of preventing Americans from sharing personal communications on TikTok.” The argument is that IEEPA has the authority to stop many things, including communications services UNLESS they can be considered personal communication AND they do not transfer any element of value.
Per the document, the government “counters by arguing that some communications on TikTok do have economic value.” TikTok notes the following: “Fair enough. But ‘A wide swath of TikTok videos, public comments…, and private messages between friends about TikTok videos’ are ‘personal communications with no economic value at all.'”
This might come as some surprise to TikTok users, especially those TikTok users that utilize the platform for economic gain. But it is important, at this key moment in history, that the court sitting in judgement of this case make absolutely clear an as-modern-as-possible defining of the term “anything of value.”
What do you think? Do you believe TikTok communications transfer “anything of value” between users? Do you believe that TikTok content has “no economic value at all?”
*The Secretary’s prohibitions are part of this process in which D.Trump signed an executive order which summoned the Secretary of Commerce to create a list of prohibitions that’d effectively stop TikTok from operating. See TikTok is not banned in America yet, but November is near for more information on what comes next.
The document noted can be found with code Case 1:20-cv-02658-CJN (Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-02658 (CJN)) Document 30 Filed 09/27/20. This document was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.