Ah, reaction videos. The bread and butter of many a YouTuber, as we all queue up to watch someone watching something to see what they make of it. Love them or hate them, they’re clearly here to stay.
It seems strange then, that the (formerly?) popular YouTubers Beny and Rafi Fine (of Fine Brothers Entertainment) couldn’t predict the backlash they would face from both fans and the YouTube community at large over their plans to trademark the word “react” and license the ‘reaction video’ format.
The brothers have managed to successfully create a small empire of “reaction” videos including Kids React, Elderly People React and Oh My God Who The Fuck Cares Anymore React. That last one is made up.
In a video announcement, they revealed their plans for React World, a licensing scheme that would basically allow other YouTubers to make their reaction videos under the Fine Brothers banner, using their graphics and music.
The Fines have since removed this video, presumably because most of the internet promptly lost their shit at the sheer cheek of what they tried to propose. Many YouTubers have criticised the decision, claiming the internet should be a free space where anyone can create something however they want.
The announcement video received close to 300,000 dislikes and just 40,000 likes, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that it didn’t go as planned.
In a lengthy statement on Facebook, the pair have since explained themselves. They clarified that the React World scheme is optional, and they aren’t trying to run a monopoly on the noble art of the reaction video.
Here’s a little excerpt:
We are in no way claiming reaction content in general is our intellectual property. This is purely a voluntary program for people wanting direct support from us, and we continue to be so excited to work with all of you who may want to participate.
They also posted another video apologising for the previous video. Stating they “screwed up” in explaining what they wanted React World to be. That video has also been taken down.
The Fine Brothers filed a trademark for “react” back in Summer 2015, but have explained that this is more for title cards, and graphical elements. To help make their point in a way that doesn’t at all smack of arrogance, they compared themselves to Burger King
If you wanted to start a fast food restaurant, you can start one on your own and possibly find huge success. But if you love Burger King, and want to be part of that organization, if you join, you’d be able to get access to things like menu items and recipes and specific logos and promotional support. And these are two totally different routes. Same kind of thing here with React World.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.