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Fine Bros Youtube network trademark “react”; internet reacts with extreme anger

Another day, another Youtube controversy. This time the controversy blew up and highlighted a sadly increasing trend in online video creation – the copyright. This article looks to outline all the events that have happened, and try to give people who haven’t been following proceedings some bearings on what’s happened and where it could end up.

The whole fuss centres around ‘React World’ – a nice way for Fine Bros to centralise their claim on the concept by giving people a place to come and “purchase” licenses. It was all announced in this very upbeat video.

So far so good? Well not really. See Fine Bros went one stage further, trademark the concept of “reaction” videos online and appointing themselves as gatekeepers. The copyright itself effectively grants Fine Bros the right to pull down any video that they feel infringes on their “react” concept – whether or not that video has anything to do with ‘React World’. Of course this entirely flies in the face of the cheery video above where everything sounds nice and glorious; it actually paints a pretty draconian landscape in the offing. Not to mention there are several problems with this;

  1. The “React” concept itself is so broad and far-reaching that it grants this one Youtube network the right to monopolise the videos or earn money off others work.
  2. The “React” concept has been around long before Fine Bros rolled up and began making their videos – making their retroactive land seizure of the word and concept a bewilderingly scary prospect.

The more worrying aspect is that Fine Bros have been quietly taking down Youtube videos that fit this criteria for a while now – running a silent campaign in the background to aid in their goal and lay the groundwork for their monetisation plans. Some are established Youtubers who would naturally make attractive targets for monetisation

But some are Youtuber’s with 10 subscribers and 6 views being manually chased down by these clowns.

Needless to say the internet hasn’t taken this too kindly; moving quickly to vent their frustration and hurt the Fine Bros where it hurts – in their subscriber numbers. Not only this but the huge wave of negative publicity (The story has penetrated mainstream news outlets like the New York Magazine) has washed up on their doorstep – with parodies popping up of the original announcement videos.

The Fine Bros have taken to Reddit in recent days to try and defend their position, with hilariously poor results. When that didn’t work, the group posted a video on their Youtube channel to try and clear up the issues surrounding the most frequently asked questions – again with very negative results.

As things stand the trademark can be contested from 2nd February – which many are planning to do.

In my opinion this is entirely futile from Fine Bros. Creating such a broad trademark and then utilising it in a way that allows you to bully other (much smaller) Youtubers is a huge no-no. Dressing it up in a nice video doesn’t change the fact that you’re trying to cut other Youtubers off at the knees for trying to make their own content. Worst still – the way that they’ve been behaving in recent days suggests that they believe they are right to do this. This is the equivalent to someone copyrighting the “Lets Play” concept – it’s too broad and ultimately just damaging. But hey-ho, all in the name of making money.

What are your opinions on this?