The popular YouTube organization, Fine Bros. Entertainment, didn't expect the reaction they got to their React World initiative. In fact, the reaction was so out of control, their efforts to run the "react" genre all businesslike on YouTube inevitably caused them to cancel React World itself.
Now all that matters to Benny and Rafi Fine is saving face and putting out constant streams of good PR, from publicly apologizing for how they communicated their ideas to pulling most copyright strikes they have on smaller content creators. A lot has happened for the channel (with over 13, at a time prior to React World, 14 million subscribers) in the past week, but if you aren't up-to-date on the situation (the overreaching, confusing mass business proposal and the subsequent Internet outrage), allow me to fill you in.
YouTube and none of its content creators invented the reaction genre. Segments that aired as early as the 1980s on MTV, or kids interacting with Bill Cosby on "Kids Say The Darndest Things," could be coined as reaction videos. But the Fine Bros., who joined YouTube in 2007, insisted on pushing the boundaries on how far they could go in their quest to monopolize the genre, or at least attempt it.
As they were the ones who largely popularized the type of video with series like “Kids React” and “Elders React,” the Fine Bros. have gotten offended over the years when others have tried to infringe on their questionable grasp of the reaction intellectual property. This has happened with them using YouTube’s copyright strike system to put much smaller channels out of commission, but they've also taken on big media moguls like Ellen DeGeneres for doing similar segments on national television.
The Fine Bros. do, of course, own their own branding, such as logos, graphical assets, and even show titles (which also subject to debate, since they're such simple titles). However, in their pitch for React World, the brothers complained about other creators ripping off their format. They never went into detail regarding what that was, exactly, so many viewers (who were very likely to dislike the video and the subsequent clarification/apology video of their intentions) were led to believe that the Fine Bros. considered all types of reaction videos, regardless of demographic, number of people involved, etc, to be a rip-off of their property, or at least something they could make money off of through the React World project they proposed. The project would have seen smaller channels using assets from Fine Bros. Entertainment to make similar reaction videos.
Obviously, anyone can make their own reaction video, and it's relatively simply to do. The the genre is one of the least demanding to produce, in terms of editing or spare time required. The Fine Bros. insisted that they only wanted to work with others to improve others’ successes on their channels and create a global community of, what would have essentially been, Fine Bros. entertainers.
Instead, what the YouTube duo got was a heaping load of backlash heavier than the Internet usually sees. Many assumed the brothers were serious in using their fans and followers as tools to capitalize more on the react industry. The millionaires’ efforts to trademark the React brand, and other title series like Kids React and YouTubers React, didn't speak to the contrary.
At the current time, the Fine Bros. still say they meant no harm to others and never wanted to hinder the creativity and freedom to create on YouTube, but their subscriber count, which has dropped drastically, doesn't seem to believe in them anymore. The vast majority of YouTube creators, viewers, and subscribers didn't take kindly at all to the Fine Bros. and their React World proposal. They thought it was incredibly presumptuous of them to insist the reaction formula of videos was theirs, and that people couldn't be successful without their help. As younger brother Rafi Fine stated in the video proposal “…if you don’t, then what is wrong with you?” after suggesting aspiring reaction creators “legally” use their format, and spread the profit between the two parties.
In my opinion, I think the Fine Bros. were just too narrow-minded to see a lot of things. First, they're either insanely arrogant or misinformed when it comes to them thinking that they own or created or are entitled to the reaction genre as a whole. They were also foolish in thinking that they could legally monopolize the system of producing reaction videos on the Internet, as they blindly assumed many would flock to them in order to produce reaction videos, when in reality, anyone can do them without their assets (which were also never detailed).
But perhaps the biggest flaw in their presentation was thinking that the Internet and content creators weren't going to hold them accountable for trying to exploit a strict YouTube copyright system and the loopholes of a constantly evolving digital media business model on the web. Their goals to create a global community united under the exact Fine Bros. format (whatever that is, anyway), while also making themselves larger millionaires failed spectacularly and with detrimental punishment.
Hopefully, this will prevent others from having the audacity to do something, like copyright "let’s play videos and movie reviews in the future, for some outrageous examples. And maybe in this Fine Bros. fiasco, we all learned a little about the complexities of copyright, and just how strong a backbone the Internet community actually has.