The Fine Bros Are Licensing Others To Make ‘React’ Videos — Are They Claiming To Own An Internet Trend?

Regular viewers of YouTube may be familiar with the Fine Bros, a content-creating duo of brothers who are most famous for their “React” series, wherein they show kids, teens, and elders popular internet trends and record their reactions. The Fine Bros’ “React” series is one of the most popular web shows on the site, bringing in millions of views every single week. And now other creators will have the chance to get a piece of that pie.

The Fine Bros announced this week that they’ll be licensing the “React” video concept to other creators around the world. This means that anybody can take part in generating new content for the Fine Bros’ “React” series.

You can watch the Fine Bros themselves making the announcement in the video below.

According to Variety, the Fine Bros will still be maintaining all the new “React World” videos through an aggregate channel that they’ll be launching later this year. Essentially, the entertainment team will be outsourcing the “React” series to other filmmakers while still keeping the final products under their control.

The licensing decision reportedly came in response to the growing success of Fine Bros Entertainment. The brothers consider this to be an opportunity to expand their brand and collaborate with users all around the world. If the idea works, the Fine Bros will be able to reel in more profits, while other users will be legally allowed to make the same kind of “React” videos that the duo made famous.

The React World channel will also serve as an online community for fans of the Fine Bros and “React” videos, allowing users to discuss and share similar videos.

But, according to Mashable, licensing the “React” brand has sparked a controversy across the web. As many internet users have pointed out, people all around the world have already been posting videos of themselves reacting to viral video trends for months. They claim the “React” video idea is not unique to the Fine Bros, and some people are accusing them of trying to monopolize an idea that they do not own.

A Reddit thread was started shortly after the Fine Bros made their announcement for people to voice their concerns.

“While we have no problem with people making money off of their videos, this type of shady, third-party licensing has caused massive issues for us and led to it being banned entirely,” wrote on Redditor.

Reddit screenshot

The Fine Bros quickly got involved in the Reddit discussion and published a tweet to defend the decision. They say they are not trying to claim ownership of react videos in general, just the Fine Bros brand of “React” shows.

Specifically, the “React” shows the Fine Bros will be licensing to other creators are “Kids React,” “Teens React,” “Elders React,” “Adults React,” and “React Gaming,” as well as other similar shows; “Do They Know It,” “People Vs Food,” “People Vs Technology,” “Lyric Breakdown,” “Try Not to Smile or Laugh,” and “Opinions.”

Despite claiming not to own the idea of “React” videos, the Fine Bros did already file for a trademark on “React” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office last summer. In the application, the Fine Bros defined the “React” concept as “Entertainment services, namely, providing an ongoing series of programs and webisodes via the Internet in the field of observing and interviewing various groups of people.”

In the Reddit thread, the Fine Bros further explained the rationale behind the decision.

“People can most definitely make shows where kids or elders etc. react to videos, the protectable elements are the trademark (the title itself of the video) and specific elements that make a likelihood of confusion that you are watching someone’s established show — but this does not at all mean people can’t make a show with generations reacting to things.”

Fine Bros
(Courtesy of Fine Bros Entertainment)

The fans may not be happy, but YouTube itself seems quite pleased with the decision. YouTube’s VP of content partnerships Kelly Merryman released a statement vouching for Fine Bros Entertainment.

“The Fine Brothers have been innovators on YouTube since day one, so it’s no surprise that they’ve created a unique way to expand the hugely popular ‘React’ series to YouTube audiences around the globe. This is brand-building in the YouTube age — rising media companies building their brands through collaborations with creators around the world.”

What do you think? Should the Fine Bros be allowed to license “React” videos?

[Photo via YouTube]

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