Below, you'll find the announcement video. In it, the Fine Bros give a very PR-spun take on their licensing scheme.
UPDATE: What you're actually watching is a mirror of the original video, because the Fine Bros took the original down. Read the update below to find out more.
However, this is just a single facet of a growing problem in the YouTube space.
For starters, reaction channels are already a very shady practice. Fine Bros admittedly do appear to put time and effort into the production of their videos, which include professional sets, proper lighting, custom graphics, etc. Speaking as someone who does produce YouTube video on practically no budget, this does require effort. However, then you get YouTubers like Jinx, who is, for lack of a better phrase, a parasite. This guy takes full videos, overlays them of literally half of his footage, films himself watching them and then rounds up his 'reaction' with a sentence before ending the video. It's plain theft. Jinx steals a video, displays it in it's entirety, looks at it and then goes "Well that was a video, hope I get sick ad revenue off this!".
So, whilst The Fine Bros are not guilty of stealing content, as they do selectively cut and show parts of the videos they react to (Which would fall under Fair Use, which is a whole other article for another day, he promised vaugely). But at the same time, they have used their clout with YouTube to issue unjust takedowns to potential competitors, as well as tried to sneak a number of trademarks past their audience in order to curb the market and make more dollar dollar bills y'all. In short, the Fines are hypocrites and a couple of sneaky bastards.
As it turns out, The Fine Bros currently do hold an uncontested trademark to the terms 'Kids React', 'Teens React' and 'Elders React' for the purposes of, and I directly quote from their trademark: "Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-going series of programs and webisodes via the internet in the field of observing and interviewing [the aforementioned groups of people]". However, this is now being applied to the very broad word or title of 'React'. And that is a huge problem.
React videos, for better or worse, are quite popular. So, it may actually benefit smaller YouTubers and people just starting out to create this kind of content. However, with this trademark and The Fine Bros shady licensing scheme, this gives the pair the power to eliminate competition under false plagiarism and theft claims. It has happened, they have done it and you would be silly to think it they wouldn't do it again.
Let's say hypothetically, imagine if PewDiePie, the most popular YouTuber ever, tried to trademark the lets play and he make it so that he was the only person making lets play videos, regardless of what other let's players are doing differently. That would piss off so many people and effectively kill off the genre. Because that's exactly what both of these things are; genres. The Fine Brothers did not create reaction videos to begin with, and now they want to lay a claim to them? It's so many levels of messed up. Star Wars popularised sci-fi, but it doesn't own sci-fi. The Angry Video Game Nerd popularised comedy reviews, but he doesn't own them. Because, strictly speaking, this should be an impossible thing to do. A genre is not a copyrightable thing... or so we thought.
The fact is, YouTube's automated Content ID system, the Fines heavy standing in the YouTube space and now it's legal and trademark meddling actually makes this kind of action a very possible outcome. This means that as soon as somebody becomes popular enough to afford legal consult, they could essentially kill off and lock out their completion, therefore stifling creativity. The Fines move is so anti-creator it's unreal. It's clear that they just want to curb the market and not have anyone dare to encroach on their reacting territory so that the money that can be made off this kind of content is all theirs. Unless they could also find a way to monetise the competition, of course...
Enter React World.
UPDATE: The video below is another re-upload. See further below for details.
The Fines have essentially created a racket. Either you join their React World and lose half your money or you don't join and you face losing your money, your content or your entire channel. This is why people are mad. Not only because this is a straight up evil practice and one that the entire internet has blown open and rightfully exposed, but because the YouTube system has become broken enough to allow this to happen.
An animator can spend months working on a single cartoon, then a reaction channel can make a video showing it in its entirety with non-existent commentary. And that's fine. But God forbid you get inspired by the reactor and think "Gee, this looks easy! I could do reacting! I'll create my own channel and try and make my own react videos!". Because as soon as you upload that video, people like the Fine Bros will swoop in and take your video down and take your potential profits like a vulture.
Below is a video from Doug Walker, who talks more candidly about YouTube's broken copyright system.
And the only reason this continues is because YouTube is just simply uncontested in its popularity. Sites like DailyMotion, Blip and Vimeo do exists, but are nowhere near as popular as YouTube. There are simply more opportunities to succeed with YouTube compared to any other video hosting site. That's why people have to fight against unfair and unjust actions when they come up. So, wanna help?
However, the best thing to do to show your disdain and cut the lifeforce of over zealous creators is to contact their sponsors. Internet-based companies like LootCrate have been known to use YouTubers like Screen Junkies, The Completionist and JacksFilms for promotional material. Basically, they fund the creators production budgets and make their return by offering discounted services and deals, driving their user-base and profits up. It's a real win-win. However, when larger, more established and traditional companies get involved, they won't exactly want to be associated with people who are universally hated. So, recently the Fine Bros took part in a brand deal with streaming giants Netflix. And the thing about Netflix is that they have a Facebook, Twitter, email and support service that you can contact to make complaints. Enough complaints and the sponsor will likely pull the plug on their deal. If a creator can't afford to make the product, that product dies. Explore that avenue if you wish.
DRAMATIC UPDATE: As of today (2nd Feb 2016), The Fine Bros have pulled ALL existing and pending trademark claims, and cancelled their React World program.
Regardless, YouTube is still broken. It still works off an automated system that serves only to benefit the select few; movie studios, record labels, the elitist of the elite users and of course YouTube itself. From a platform that generates so much revenue, the systems put in place to protect content actually ends up harming the creators themselves, often acting independently from the companies who would rather appreciate the exposure of their content than the immediate and brutal take-down and monetisation of critical and comment content. It's an unfortunately flawed system that simply serves to make the rich richer. As long as people like Jinx and the Fine Bros are still able to continue the practices that they have undertaken, and as long as real creators like Doug Walker continue to have problems with their careers on this service, YouTube will continue spiral forever downward until a viable competitor kills the platform entirely. Until then, the corporate slant of YouTube will plague the community and force it to tear itself apart when a creator gets greedy and tries to follow suit with the entertainment industry's exploitative practices. In short, money continues to be the root of all evil.
There we have it, then. YouTube is evil, money is evil and the Fine Bros deserve every lost subscriber they get. In the meantime, you could always sign up to Foul World, where you too can make your own You Never Asked videos and we can take your money! By the way, don't ever try and make a Q&A video ever again, because we trademarked 'ask' and all of it's derivatives. See you in court. No need to thank us, world.