What If The Fine Bros Didn't Back Down?

by Dennis Duty February 11, 2016

TheFineBrosEnvision the world as a colorless dystopia where every creative outlet was stifled by inquisitors and lawyers. It sounds like an Orwellian disaster, but could this actually happen? It's certainly what the internet feared last week.

The Fine Bros announced the React World program with the best of intentions.

If you didn't see the announcement video (it's already been taken down) the concept was actually pretty brilliant. The Fine Bros had ambitions to be the McDonalds of YouTube by starting the first viral-video franchise. You use their proven format and abide by their brand guidelines. In exchange, they get a cut of any profits your video makes.

After the announcement of React World, we were frightened.

As a crowdfunded company, Stayblcam owes its very existence to a brand new generation of independent thinkers and visionaries. It's our duty to fight for a world our supporters can thrive in. React World was like a stone thrown into a pond; Its ripples would spread throughout the videosphere and change the world our customers live in.

Thankfully, The Fine Bros were receptive to the tidal wave of criticism and retracted the venture entirely.

Let's talk about what would have happened if they didn't flinch. What if they were too close to the situation to see it clearly, and ignored the criticism.

What exactly would happen if The Fine Bros didn't dismantle React World?

Kids Say The Darndest Things LinkletterThe first problem comes from the inherent vagueness of what exactly constitutes the 'format' they intended to license. Every React video they've uploaded follows the same format, but there is video evidence of this format existing on YouTube before The Fine Bros. It's essentially exactly the same format as VH1s I love the 90s or Cosby and Linkletter's Kids Say The Darndest Things. 

Out of necessity to protect the brand, every reaction video uploaded from here on out would be under scrutiny.. and we haven't even gotten to the big problem yet. The real problems come from the precedent set.

Suddenly, big competitors have grounds to pop off a few quick videos, and claim the format for themselves as a franchise. All of these would become fair game:

  • Top-10 lists
  • Unboxing videos
  • Pranks
  • Whiteboard Videos
  • Funny animal compilations

Sony LogoIn late 2015, Sony tried to trademark “Let's Play” which is the most popular genre of content on YouTube. If they were granted the trademark, it would have resulted in a legal takedown of over 20 million videos.

Their request was denied, and the term is now deemed too generic to trademark. However, the existence of React World would have given them a new tool. Suddenly claiming the “format” of the entire genre becomes possible.

You see how dangerous this is starting to get?

Content creators would start running into a brick-wall of takedown notices and levied ad payouts. The same right to adapt existing works that made The Fine Bros successful wouldn't be available to the up-and-comers.

There were many other potential problems, but they're not worth mentioning. As we said before, The Fine Bros didn't intend any harm. They were trying something new and they don't deserve any hate for

Stayblcam applauds our followers, supporters, and the new-media community at large for reacting the way it did. You made the right move, and whenever you feel something strangling your freedom of
expression, we urge you all to fight the good fight.

Dennis Duty
Dennis Duty


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