Trouble In YouTube

(YouTubers: Rafi and Benny Fine tried to trademark “react” in order to be the original creators of this video format.)

“YouTube is becoming much more than an entertainment destination” according to Chad Hurley the co-founder and former CEO of Youtube. It has now become a platform in which people from all around the world can start showcasing their talents.

Today, YouTube is seen as a job, more than a fun hobby as most “youtubers” leave their regular jobs to work full time on YouTube. Some examples are Bethany Mota a beauty vlogger who collaborated with Aeropostale in order to have her own clothing line. Another beauty vlogger, Michelle Phan, has created her own makeup line and started her own company: Ipsy.

However some creators have sparked controversy within this online community. One such case is with the creators of one of the biggest channels on YouTube who have sparked fury between their viewers when they decided to trademark their popular video format.

The controversy started when brothers, Benny and Rafi Fine, wanted to expand their franchise further after launching their channel “The Fine Brothers”. Since 2007, this channel has expanded to be one of the most popular on YouTube, with 14 million subscribers. They are popular for their series which allows teens, adults, Youtubers, and kids, to react to viral videos, problems, or other popular things that are happening in the world.

After establishing this format, the brothers wanted to expand it further; thus, in July 2015 they registered a trademark application for the word “react.”  This would have covered the terms of  “an entertainment services who provides a series of programs and webisodes via the internet in the field of observing and interviewing various groups of people”.

Many viewed this as unjust since the brothers are not the only ones providing this type of series. This would mean that if someone wants to “react” to something and uses the word “react”, a lawsuit could be forced upon them.

Since their announcement, the Fine Brothers have lost more than 170,000 followers from their channel. This situation caused them to lose subscribers which affects their income in the long run. However, since this happened, they brothers have decided to stop the trademark because of the controversy it sparked.
At ANS, an informal poll was taken about this situation. Most students agree that it was a selfish act on behalf of the Fine Brothers. Most said that the word “react” should not be copyrighted as the brothers did not create the word and should have no ownership of it. Other comments included ANS students believing that anyone should be able to create videos without the fear of being sued.

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