The internet duo Fine Bros managed to briefly steal Donald Trump’s mantle as the most-hated thing on the internet last week, when they revealed supervillain-style their plan to trademark the word “React”. Following the bad, uh, response to the plan, they’re cancelling everything.
The Fine Bros made their substantial internet following mostly by taking the time-honored reaction genre to YouTube, with videos following the format [DEMOGRAPHIC] REACTS TO [THING]:
The pair basically assumed that they owned the format, and oh-so-generously came up with the idea of licensing their unique style to other YouTubers, in return for a share of any revenue. To enforce this, they took out a trademark on the word “REACT”, along with a helping of similar phrases like “Teens React”, “Elders React”, and the like.
Naturally, the internet was not amused, and has spent the last few days variously anger-blogging, anger-vlogging, and unsubscribing from Fine Bros Entertainment™.
In a post tonight on Medium, the Fine Bros retracted their plans for YouTube domination, and apologized to their three remaining fans:
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.**
In addition, the previous announcement videos, along with anything else related to REACT World, has been taken down. This is much like nicely asking the horses not to bolt once they’ve already escaped the stable; whether the gesture is enough to restore any tiny amount of faith remains to be seen.
In the meantime, their subscriber numbers continue to fall.