The Fine Brothers Entertainment dynamic duo — better known as the “Fine Bros” to those who love their videos on YouTube –have found themselves in the middle of a big time controversy. Combining elements of YouTube success, trademarks and creative styles, the controversy found the Fine Bros taking to YouTube to try and explain their point of view in the following video that’s a reaction to the wild reaction to their “React” videos licensing.
As of this writing, the Fine Bros YouTube channel reports that the duo have 14,007,832 subscribers and 3,827,567,991 views on their popular YouTube videos. A few days ago, on January 27, a Google cache of the Fine Bros YouTube channel reports they enjoyed 14,073,473 subscribers and 3,804,187,486 views for all their YouTube videos.
That means that 65,641 Fine Bros subscribers have decided to hit that “unsubscribe” button on their YouTube channel over the past few days. However, it also means that the same days have brought the Fine Bros 23,380,505 additional views to their YouTube videos. It’s a fact that controversy can bring additional attention.
Certain folks might be unsubscribing to the Fine Bros, because they believe that the Fine Bros are trying to claim the whole “reaction video” genre is their own — but the Fine Bros claim that isn’t the case.
According to New York Magazine, Rafi and Benny Fine have built a big business out of their reaction videos, and claim that anyone who wants to make a reaction video has to go through the Fine Bros. But the Fine Bros say that’s not true — and that they realize that they didn’t create the entire “react” genre.
Their new “React World” venture sought to license the somebody-is-reacting-to-something genre in order to have content created for their channel. Others understood it as the Fine Bros trying to take a cut of the pay of all react videos. A YouTube guy named 8-Bit Eric claimed in a NSFW video that the Fine Bros took down his reaction video.
The Fine Bros admit that their initial video announcing the “React World” concept didn’t explain the venture well enough. Their trademark covered more of their specific and exact concept, they said, not every single soul who wants to use the word “React” and “Opinions” in their YouTube videos and concepts.
Detractors joked that the Fine Bros would try to “copyright” everything — including YouTube videos filmed outside and the like. Those folks might have mistook copyright and trademark, but the anger was there all the same.
“We do not own the idea or copyright for reaction videos overall, nor did we ever say we did. You don’t need anyone’s permission to make these kinds of videos, and we’re not coming after anyone.”
“This concept came from a feeling that we’re doing a disservice by only having our series based in Southern California. For years, we’ve been trying to figure out how to make these shows around the world ourselves, but the production reality was impossible to achieve.”
“This led us to now, with starting a voluntary program to license our specific series (i.e. Teens React, Do They Know It?) for those interested in becoming affiliated with our brand. This can be mutually beneficial in a multitude of ways, as we’re going to be sharing assets, production bibles, best practices, monetization opportunities and more. If you are not interested, you don’t need to join and can still make reaction videos, or anything you want, this is the internet!”
“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.”
[Bret Hartman/AP Images for Friskies]