Popular YouTube duo, the Fine Bros, stirred up a massive controversy this week after deciding to trademark the “React” videos that made them famous, as well as attempting to license other creators to make “React” videos on their behalf. A previous report from The Inquisitr covered the initial backlash and the Fine Bros attempt to explain their intentions, but those clarifications apparently didn’t do the trick. As of today, the Fine Bros have officially given up on the whole idea.
According to Gamespot, the Fine Bros have cancelled their plans for an aggregate channel of “React” videos made by other people called “React World,” and they’ve officially dropped their trademark. This appears to be in response to an immense flood of negative feedback from Fine Bros fans and other internet viewers who believed they were attempting to claim ownership of a ubiquitous internet trend. As a result of the backlash, the Fine Bros lost well over 200,000 subscribers, an ongoing trend still being documented at this website.
After cancelling the licensing plan and scrapping React World, the Fine Bros posted a message to Medium apologizing for the whole catastrophe. They also agreed to cancel all the copyright content claims they made against other YouTubers who were reported for copying their format.
“We realize we built a system that could easily be used for wrong. We are fixing that. The reality that trademarks like these could be used to theoretically give companies (including ours) the power to police and control online video is a valid concern, and though we can assert our intentions are pure, there’s no way to prove them.”
We have decided to do the following:
1. Rescind all of our “React” trademarks and applications.*
2. Discontinue the React World program.
3. Release all past Content ID claims.
It seems the Fine Bros agree with the critics who said their licensing plan was suspicious, having admitted that they can’t think of any way to persuade the public that they weren’t simply being greedy. Had React World gone into effect, the Fine Bros would have raked in a lot profit from videos they never even made. This fact alone was enough to lose the respect of their viewers, not to mention the attempt at trademarking “React” videos in general, which the Fine Bros did not even invent.
According to Digg, the Fine Bros have also taken down their initial video announcing React World and the licensing plan, as well as the follow-up video attempting to clear up confusion on the issue. The plan now seems to be pretending the whole thing never happened and hoping their fans forgive them. The Fine Bros stated in their apology that they just want to go back to the way things used to be, making the same popular videos that YouTube once fell in love with.
“It makes perfect sense for people to distrust our motives here, but we are confident that our actions will speak louder than these words moving forward,” the Fine Bros said. “This has been a hard week. Our plan is to keep making great content with the help of our amazing staff. Thank you for your time and for hearing us out.”
But it seems much of the damage has already been done. Many other YouTubers publicly shamed the Fine Bros by videos mocking their licensing idea; namely educational filmmaker CGP Grey who dropped his usual professional demeanor to make a scathing Fine Bros parody in which he pretends to have trademarked stick figures.
What do you think? Did the Fine Bros make a huge mistake? Should the internet forgive them?
[Photo via YouTube]