With the announcement of their controversial new project, React World, The Fine Brothers have been losing subscribers at an alarming rate.
React World was announced last Tuesday. The project takes the form of a public YouTube multi-channel partnership network ran by the two industry moguls Benny and Rafi Fine. The network will focus primarily on creators who wish to create their own REACT series’ based on the format that Fine Brothers Entertainment has established. Partners who join receive a license to all REACT series elements, graphic resources, production guidance, and promotional opportunities in exchange for a percentage of their channel’s AdSense and sponsorship generated revenue, according to the React World website.
“By opening up the various FBE shows to everyone all around the world, we hope to grease the wheels for us to understand the world better, to shine a light on topics and issues both large and small, and to learn and appreciate each other more,” the brothers write.
Their desire to create a niche network of creators isn’t the problem, however. As part of the React World initiative, the brothers are attempting to take full advantage of the trademarks that they filed for in July of 2015 by issuing copyright takedown notices against videos that appear to violate these trademarks. Their registered trademarks include each of their specific show types, including “Adults React,” “Teens React,” “Celebrities React,” along with the generic “React.”
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, each trademark covers “Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-going series of programs and webisodes via the Internet in the field of observing and interviewing various groups of people.”
Fine Brothers Entertainment has issued dozens of copyright takedown notices against ‘react’ videos on YouTube, prompting outrage from numerous high-profile creators, with many calling for a greater sense of transparency from the brothers.
1. Clearly state what your format is.
2. Explain why you trademarked the word React.
3. Detail the takedowns you've done.
— Daniel Hardcastle (@DanNerdCubed) January 31, 2016
Many creators who have received takedown notices claim that their videos did not violate Fine Brothers Entertainment’s unique show format, but instead were just generic reaction videos, a format that existed long before Fine Brothers Entertainment created their first reaction videos.
Community outrage has been met with a wave of fans unsubscribing from their YouTube channels. Their most popular channel, self-titled Fine Brothers Entertainment, lost more than 100,000 subscribers on the Sunday after their announcement. During one single 60-minute period, their channel saw a loss of nearly 20,000 subscribers – that’s more than 5 subscribers lost every second.
Their initial announcement video was met with just as much backlash, garnering nearly 200,000 dislikes.
An update video was uploaded by Fine Brothers Entertainment yesterday in an attempt to better explain the project.
Update February 1, 2016, 10:40pm EST:
Fine Brothers Entertainment has removed their two videos about React World and issued a statement. They plan to “discontinue the React World program,” “release all past Content ID claims,” and “rescind all of [their] ‘React’ trademarks.”