YouTube duo, The Fine Bros. who created Fine Bros Entertainment which pumps out regular “… React to…” videos such as “Teenagers React”, “React: Gaming” and “Elders React”, has come under fire this weekend following their company attempting to trademark the term “react”.
In an attempt to protect their own format as well as monetise and licence its React shows by offering tools and support for other to make similar videos for their channel, the Fine Bros decided to trademark the term “react”, which has sent the Internet into melt down. In order to achieve the above, the brothers also felt they needed to file for trademark protection for “react” – yes, the actual word.
According to the filing, the brothers want to trademark the word “react” under “entertainment services, namely, providing an on-going series of programs and webisodes via the Internet in the field of observing and interviewing various groups of people.”
In short, if you create a video on YouTube with the word “react” in the title, there’s every possibility that Fine Bros Entertainment can, and will, get your video taken down. Even if it had nothing to do with their series of React videos. Understandably, the announcement caused the Internet to “react” furiously, with the original announcement video getting over 200,000 dislikes.
In response, the Fine Bros took it upon themselves to create another video to try and quell the Internet mob because “the negative response has been so overwhelming.”
Of course, as you can expect, this just angered the Internet worse and caused The Fine Bros YouTube Channels to rapidly lose subscribers. Their main YouTube channel, TheFineBros had over 14 million subscribers before these events, now they’re sitting at a little under that number, with it still dropping fairly rapidly. Their other channel, React, is also seeing a considerable dip in subs too.
Since the announcement, the Internet has been reacting appropriately posting comments on both videos as well as airing concerns on both reddit and their Facebook page. Interestingly, Fine Bros Entertainment have been doing a fair bit of damage control by removing a number of negative comments as well as offering fairly PR-like responses to genuine questions.
To put it simply, the Internet is pissed, and this likely isn’t going to reflect well on the Fine Bros who rely on other people’s content (which usually holds copyright of their own) to create a video based on an aged format (anyone remember Kids Say the Darndest Things?), which they are now trying to trademark themselves.
According to Attourney Ryan Morrison (via Kotaku), The Fine Bros. trademark is now entering what is called the “public opposition phase”, which is a 30-day window in which the public can oppose the trademark and essentially get it thrown out. Morrison wrote in more detail:
When a trademark examiner approves a trademark, like they did here, they put it forward for publication. On the date of publication, the public has 30 days to file an opposition. Had the Fine Bros kept quiet for another month, they almost certainly would have gotten this trademark, as no one seemed to notice it. Instead, they announced their ridiculous licensing program and turned all eyes on them. How they were not advised to remain silent a bit longer? No idea. But I can tell you that it was a huge mistake, and one that they will regret. Not only are they experiencing a terrible PR disaster right now, I am also assisting a large group of streamers and content creators in an opposition, pro bono (that means free), because I’m extra pissed about this one.
Morrison’s blog post actually has a lot of interesting information about The Fine Bros. including current trademarks which they hold, and other ridiculous ones they have an interest in, including “DO THEY KNOW IT?, KIDS VS. FOOD, LYRIC BREAKDOWN, PEOPLE V. TECHNOLOGY, and TRY NOT TO SMILE OR LAUGH.”
The Fine Bros. have messed up big time in this instance, and is just one of many companies trying their damndest to trademark popular terms which are used on the Internet. Here’s looking at you, Sony.