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The Fine Bros. are trademarking "react" videos, and gamers could be affected

They might have to change their name to The Not So Fine Brothers.

UPDATE - 02/02/2016, 10:34 am

Due to the outrage over the announcement of the trademark of "React," The Fine Brothers have issued a statement that they will no longer be filing for ownership of the term and licensing rights. The message outlining the terms of their withdrawal - originally posted on Medium - is relayed below. 

"Hello,

We’re here to apologize.

We realize we built a system that could easily be used for wrong. We are fixing that. The reality that trademarks like these could be used to theoretically give companies (including ours) the power to police and control online video is a valid concern, and though we can assert our intentions are pure, there’s no way to prove them.

We have decided to do the following:

1. Rescind all of our “React” trademarks and applications.*

2. Discontinue the React World program.

3. Release all past Content ID claims.**

The concerns people have about React World are understandable, and that people see a link between that and our past video takedowns, but those were mistakes from an earlier time. It makes perfect sense for people to distrust our motives here, but we are confident that our actions will speak louder than these words moving forward.

This has been a hard week. Our plan is to keep making great content with the help of our amazing staff. Thank you for your time and for hearing us out.


Sincerely,


Benny and Rafi Fine


*This includes “React,” “Kids React,” “Elders React,” “Lyric Breakdown,” etc. Please note: It takes a while for the databases to update, but the necessary paperwork has been filed.


**Content ID is YouTube’s copyright system that automatically flags content that looks like or sounds like copyrighted content. This mostly flags videos that are direct re-uploads of our videos (which is what the system is built for), but if you know of a video that has been claimed or removed incorrectly, please email us with “false claim” in the subject line.

It only makes sense that they would do this, as they have now lost over 300,000 subscribers. They are still on a downward trend, but the amount of people lost per minute is slowly tapering off.

The people of the Internet can rest easy once again... for now. Who knows what kind of crazy trademark attempts we'll be dealing with next week?

Original Article:

Just a week after the controversial Sony trademark attempt died down and people began re-appreciating their freedom, The Fine Bros. pop up. 

The Fine Bros. took a page from Sony's book and attempted to trademark "react videos". This includes videos like Elders React, YouTubers React, and Kids React -- all of which are Fine Bros. series. There is, of course, one difference between them and Sony: The Fine Brothers' trademark was APPROVED.

This may not seem like video game news, but it could be potentially devastating to gamers.

YouTubers around the world were outraged with Fine Brothers Entertainment from the second the announcement of "React World" went live. What is React World? A place where users sign up for a licencing package to make React videos.

Many channels - gaming and otherwise - who have used the word "react" in the title of their videos have been slammed with copyright strikes by the company, and the community is not happy.

The Fine Brothers have currently lost over 250,000 subscribers, and continue to lose roughly 120 every minute. An avid web user has created a site to track the company's subscriber loss.

So how could gamers be affected?

YouTubers will be the first to feel the nasty sting of this sneaky trademark, as compilation (and any other) videos featuring emotional reactions to areas of a game, boss battles, game reviews, and more could be taken down. (Horror genre LPers everywhere are weeping.)

Streamers could slowly be caught for infringement, but because a stream is a live event, they are harder to track. 

All it takes to get caught for copyright infringement is a poorly titled video, and "react" applies to a lot of titles. Reactions to weapons, maps, DLC, storylines, etc. will all be affected.

Imagine your favorite content creator suddenly falling off the map because their main series is erased from the Internet.

Although it seems like a vague issue to a lot of people, this trademark has the potential to devastate the online gaming community. Not to mention that a stunt like this will surely encourage other companies to gun for similar trademarks. Sony's "Let's Play" trademark came pretty close.

"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." 

-Attorney's React: The Fine Bros. REACT Trademark

Ryan P. Morrison

The clock is ticking. Lawyers are getting down to business with hundreds of content creators to oppose this trademark, and anyone with a passion for freedom of speech is invited to join in.

In the end... 

When I began writing this article, there were two videos on YouTube describing the situation. The first being the React World announcement, the second an update with a small FAQ - during which they managed to offend even more users with their condescending tone. Hilariously, before I could even cram this article out, they took both down, seconds after I finished viewing them. 

Perhaps The Fine Bros. had a change of heart after the INCREDIBLE outrage they've received? We'll have to wait and see.

Published Feb. 2nd 2016
  • shox_reboot
    Columnist
    You don't see videos titled 'xxx reacts to Dragon Age DLC' or 'xxx react to Silent Hills'. In fact, I just did a search on youtube for LPers and live streamers using the keyword 'react' because I was curious and the searches turned up next to nothing. You don't typically get the whole 'react' thing attached to gaming.

    Sure, there are an odd few with the word react in the title but to say the fine bros could use a trademark to pull the video, especially when it's so different from the format of videos they're doing seems like a stretch. I hate their react world crap as much as the next person but to think they can end anything and everything to do with such a general term is ridiculous.

    Common sense needs to come into play here and while I admit YouTube isn't the best place for that, I doubt gamers need to be so worried.
  • BlackTideTV
    Columnist
    Perhaps it takes a YouTuber to know the strength of the copyright protection on YouTube. Being a YouTuber who's been struck with copyright claims before, I can tell you that there is legitimate cause for alarm.

    Copyright protection on YouTube works a lot like SEO. The title isn't the only thing the system searches for. Tags, descriptions, sometimes key words in the videos themselves can trigger a copyright strike. The system is smart, it WILL find any users with "React" in their videos.

    For an example of the system's strength, it only takes 3 seconds of audio for a protected song to be found in a video. This is the exact same system, just in word format.

    No, a lot of gamers won't be affected, but the ones that are, of which there are quite a few, will get hit - HARD.
  • Mathenaut
    This won't end well for them.

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