Last week, the Fine Bros. unveiled their React World, inviting other "react" creators to license with them. But detractors--a lot of them--blasted Fine Bros. for seemingly trying to claim the idea of "reacting" videos, which is what they do, is unique or new.
And also, it seems, they were complaining that the idea of big licensing fights over react videos was giving YouTube the same lawyer-up stink of television.
This is one coming of age development. As YouTube grows into adolescence, its voice will be changing. It’s becoming an adult.
Adults sue. They don’t play so nice together.
That’s what a lot of YouTubers seemed to realize when the Fine Bros .announced their React World idea.
The brothers basically said, if you’re making a react video--a video of how your kid brother screams at a scary part of a movie, for example -you should license with the Fine Bros. Then that video could become part of “Kids React,” a Fine Bros. channel that shows videos on that expansive (?) subject and others, including “Elders React.”
You’d get a cut from whatever advertising was part of that.
YouTubers went crazy. They hated this idea. And they said so in YouTube posts, on Reddit, on Twitter. Everywhere. It was one big huge react-fest the Fine Bros. missed.
In fact, as this idea unraveled, it was discovered that Fine Bros. were in the process of trademarking “React.” Oh, my goodness. And when YouTubers were reminded the Fine Bros. criticized Ellen Degeneres and Jimmy Kimmel for their own reaction segments, and tried to take down other react videos, well, the long knives came out.
They blasted these brothers, Benny and Rafi, because the idea of a react video is not exactly rocket science, or very new at all. There are countless YouTube react videos, so, rightfully creators and users all said, more or less, what’s so special?
Things got nasty when somebody on Facebook asked the brothers if a hypothetical video called “Kids React To Red Bull” would be actionable, they said, yep, because that’s the name of their show.
One comment posted after a protesting video lamented, “business business business/ I feel like this is what YouTube is all about these days to be honest, and it's sad.”
This controversy will probably simmer down now. The Fine Bros yesterday abandoned React World, apologized and said they are in the process of rescinding the trademark application. “This has been a hard week,” they wrote.
But damage has been done. Tubefilter’s Sam Gutelle noticed that on Sunday alone, 115,000 people unsubscribed from the main Fine Bros. channel. There's a mean YouTube mock reaction video about that titled Watching Fine Bros Live Subscriber Count Go Down with a counter counting it down. (They have--or had--13.7 million.)
Gutelle, who’s a fan, wrote: “When, in their React World announcement, Benny and Rafi discuss their hopes that their React videos will survive for several generations as historical artifacts of the current era, it’s clear that the popularity of their videos has had a negative impact on the Fine’s understanding of their importance.”
But just as much, that’s a reality of YouTube, where audiences are huge and where giant corporations, like the Walt Disney Co., have taken ownership positions. It’s a not a kingdom of user-generated content anymore. It’s business, business, business. It’s uncomfortable collision with the free form video place YouTube once was.