The reaction was pretty entertaining to follow but the reaction to the reaction means that the internet will have a happy ending. After enormous public backlash and pressure following the announcement of React World and the discovery of numerous trademarks, The Fine Bros and Fine Bros Entertainment announced that they would be rescinding their trademarks and cancelling React World.
In an announcement posted to Medium, the Fine Brothers announced their change in plans in response to the reaction to their announcement of React World. They admitted that they had “built a system that could easily be used for wrong.” As such, they would be rescinding their trademarks for the various show names, cancelling the React World program and releasing Content ID claims against other YouTube videos.
The Fine Bros did miss the point a little, though. It wasn’t that people had a problem with React World itself. I actually think licensing assets, production assistance and promotion is still viable. They can’t license the show titles without the trademarks but those trademarks were the real problem.
To make all the react trademarks worth anything, Fine Bros Entertainment would have to enforce those trademarks so anyone doing a video with “react” in the title or under the name “kids react” and so on would have a massive target on their backs. It wasn’t working with the Fine Bros under their branding that was an issue. It was the potential for militarization of FBE’s trademarks that caused the uproar. US trademark law is really the “system that could easily be used for wrong,” not React World. FBE didn’t build the system. They just intended to exploit it.
And it wasn’t just Content ID claims against other reaction videos on YouTube. Some people said that they had full DMCA copyright strikes. According to YouTube’s help database, content creators and copyright holders can manually submit both Content ID and Copyright Takedown claims. Users Content ID’d aren’t going to be automatically hit by a Content ID claim if they aren’t using assets in YouTube’s database so someone at FBE or their MCN partners Fullscreen likely manually Content ID’d or Copyright Claimed those videos. That’s an option only available to those in good standing but I fail to see how FBE or Fullscreen could be if their Content ID and Copyright claims are as invalid as everyone claims they are.
So where does this news leave us? Without trademarks to fall back on for copyright and Content ID claims, hopefully, we’re all better off for this. While I don’t see how React World can’t continue on assets and promotion alone, The Fine Bros shouldn’t be any worse off. Creators should be able to create their own reaction content without someone militarizing trademark law against them. Viewers should get more content to watch and support those creators that they watch rather than hidden Content ID claims force their ad revenue elsewhere. And maybe we can go back to not being too arsed with reaction videos.