The Fine Brothers are one of the biggest YouTube content creators and have more than 13 million followers. In 2015, the brothers applied to trademark terms, including “Kids React”, “Adults React” and “Celebrities React”, as well as the word “react” itself, which could be used to form new variations of the format.
In early February, they announced a licensing scheme called React World, which they said would let other video-makers use the “react” title and assets such as their graphics and music.
However, the YouTube community reacted negatively since many people have already been making similar reaction videos and found that The Fine Brothers have gone too far past just protecting their own content from being stolen.
The Fine Brothers have clarified that they are planning to license only a complete package of “structural elements” and assets, and that they were “in no way claiming [that] reaction content, in general, is [their] intellectual property.” “We are not going after/shutting down/suing anyone who makes reaction-based content,” they wrote.
Ryan Morrison, a video gamer turned lawyer, is vocalizing his opposition of the Fine Brothers’ trademark filings and has now offered to help video-makers fight the Fine Brothers’ trademark applications. “The public has 30 days to file an opposition,“ he said. “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.”
Since their announcement on Tuesday, the Fine Brothers have lost more than 170,000 followers from their YouTube channel. Depending on how The Fine Brothers react to this public outrage, their future in the YouTube space may be very different from what they had imagined when filing for their trademarks and announcing their licensing scheme.