I was reading this interesting story today about a popular Youtube channel called “React.” It essentially revolves around showing people of different ages and demographic videos and items where they then capture reactions which is usually entertaining. For example, teens of today looking at old technology two decades ago or current seniors trying to watch modern day TV shows that are outside their demographic.
They experienced a lot of success over the years and recently it was announced that they would try and trademark “React” and then license their show format similar to how a lot of reality shows license their formats to others. This generated a storm of negativity for the organization as people were explaining how it is silly that anyone could even trademark say the notion of you simply recording yourself and your reactions to anything. They tried to even clarify the situation but people were still angry over this.
They have since took down all the videos about their plans and I saw that this statement published:
A message from the Fine Brothers
We’re here to apologize.
We realize we built a system that could easily be used for wrong. We are fixing that. The reality that trademarks like these could be used to theoretically give companies (including ours) the power to police and control online video is a valid concern, and though we can assert our intentions are pure, there’s no way to prove them.
We have decided to do the following:
1. Rescind all of our “React” trademarks and applications.*
2. Discontinue the React World program.
3. Release all past Content ID claims.**
The concerns people have about React World are understandable, and that people see a link between that and our past video takedowns, but those were mistakes from an earlier time. It makes perfect sense for people to distrust our motives here, but we are confident that our actions will speak louder than these words moving forward.
This has been a hard week. Our plan is to keep making great content with the help of our amazing staff. Thank you for your time and for hearing us out.
Benny and Rafi Fine
*This includes “React,” “Kids React,” “Elders React,” “Lyric Breakdown,” etc. Please note: It takes a while for the databases to update, but the necessary paperwork has been filed.
**Content ID is YouTube’s copyright system that automatically flags content that looks like or sounds like copyrighted content. This mostly flags videos that are direct re-uploads of our videos (which is what the system is built for), but if you know of a video that has been claimed or removed incorrectly, please email us with “false claim” in the subject line.
Kind of makes you think from a business perspective on just how different a digital audience is compared to a traditional one. Like for things such as a Youtube audience compared to a TV audience, many people see online media as like an escape from corporations and its environments where only the rich can survive. Therefore, you have to be extra careful that you don’t come across as like a traditional company and executive of sorts where you are simply trying to squash all the little guys. Otherwise as seen here, you’ll never hear the end of it.