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How should internet content creators protect their works?


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So I don't know how much you guys follow YouTube news, but there has been a huge story regarding the FineBros who run the famous React shows on YouTube (e.g., Kids React, Teens React, Elders React, etc.)

 

The FineBros wanted to start a new React World, which would be an extension to their current business.

 

What is React World?

 

It would be a franchising system.  Say you watched the FineBros videos in South Korea and thought it was a great idea and wanted to do the same but with a Korean focus.  You could sign a licensing agreement with FineBros Entertainment.  With this license, you would be able to create your own Korean versions of the React (and other FineBros) shows.  You wouldn't have to pay the FineBros anything to get this license, in fact, you would be given support from them in the form of graphics, software, designs and logos, etc. and even be featured on their YouTube channel (which has over 13 million subscribers and is one of the biggest channels on YouTube).

 

In return, the FineBros would take a cut of the ad revenue you generated with your videos.

 

The FineBros say that this is a legal way for you to use their show formats and content with minimum cost to you as an up-and-coming creator.  This is also a way for the FineBros to stop other people from ripping off their format and making money off of their ideas.

 

What is the controversy?

 

All of this sounds very fair and logical when laid out, but the Reddit and the YouTube community freaked out and there was a huge backlash to the React World.  Without going into too many specifics, here are the main arguments against React World and the FineBros in general:

 

1. It was discovered that the FineBros have applied to trademark their various shows.  If this trademark would go through, nobody else on YouTube, or on the Internet, could use the titles, 'Kids React' or 'Teens React'.  The FineBros even tried to trademark the word 'React' for YouTube and Internet videos so that only they had exclusive use of it.  People freaked out because the word 'React' is not owned by anyone, it cannot be because that would be illogical.  Also, as far as the FineBros' shows are concerned, they are not the first people in the world to come up with shows that show people reacting to things/pop culture.  Television shows have been doing this for decades, after all.  What right do the FineBros have to have exclusive use of React videos?  Just because they are the most popular at the moment?  That is not very fair or logical.

 

2. The FineBros tried to explain that you can still make your own React videos, just not using their formats from their shows.  But people responded with: nothing in the FineBros' shows is special or unique enough to prevent other people from using a similar format.  React videos/shows on the whole are quite formulaic after all.

 

3. The FineBros said that they would not be going around taking people's React videos off the Internet left, right and centre.  They're not like that. Soon after, other YouTubers came forward with proof that the FineBros had flagged their videos as copyright abusing and forced YouTube to take them down worldwide.  Now some of these videos were reuploads of FineBros' videos, but others were their own thing and were React videos that were similar, but not the same, to the FineBros'.  Even if the FineBros were the nicest people on Earth, should anyone be given that kind of power?

 

4. Lastly, and some would say more importantly, what the FineBros are trying to do goes against everything that the Internet is supposed to be: a free space for people to come and do their own thing.  If you start regulating and dividing up different kinds of videos, what are the next batch of content creators going to do?  They would be screwed.  Besides, the Internet can self-police, there have been many, many instances when people have come forward and said, 'this video is a copy of what X did in his/her video, you're a thief, I will not support you.'  The self-policing system is definitely not perfect and it definitely doesn't catch everything, but it's better than taking people's videos down for the smallest of infractions and taking away the freedom that the Internet gives.

 

What happened next?

 

The reaction was bad.  Within less than a week, the FineBros' subscriber count went from 14,080,000 to 13,650,000.  They lost nearly half a million subscribers and their video views went down by 10 million.  Losing half a million subscribers isn't as big a thing when you still have 13+million to go, but these were presumed to be a majority of what are known as 'active subscribers', i.e., people who actively go on YouTube and watch videos frequently.  Losing active subscribers is poison to an online channel like that of the FineBros.

 

The FineBros have removed all videos from their channel on YouTube talking about React World and have published a note apologising for it and saying that they have cancelled React World and have filed paperwork to remove all their trademark applications.  They are still losing subscribers but not at the rate they were losing them before.

 

The Debate

 

YouTube has turned into a multi-billion industry and the top channels on YouTube are making well over 6 figures.

 

We all know that the Internet is going to be a huge part of the future no matter your personal relationship with it or views of it.

 

The FineBros' plans went down badly.  But it does raise a very important question that is going to become more and more important in the next few decades:

 

How can people who produce works on the Internet protect their creations?  If you think the FineBros were in the wrong, well, what else can be done by someone in their position who wants to protect his/her work?  Also, what do you think about the future of online entertainment?

 

TL;DR watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3_fRUHOAfE and this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0S-uKfUd-g

Edited by Arrowhead
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Well, in my opinion, the best thing that can be done is something like a copyright obviously, but there are websites like Fanfiction, that do not allow you to select and therefore copy the writings there. So that seems to be me, the logical way forward. Now no doubt there will always be people who will find ways to break the code. It seems virtually impossible that we can stop the theft of intellectual property completely. Already, we have sites such as NetFlicks, but people aren't willing to spend the low fees, and prefer to torrent. To make it worse, particularly in countries that very rich, enforcement of law is a pain. There are not sufficient funds to actually make a dent in the industry. 
I  personally know of people who think it is OK to rip movies/albums off the internet. But the cause of this issue, in my opinion is people's morality rather than the web itself. If the morality of people can be changed, for example, via education or something, then we can a more significant impact on this issue. Also, I believe that we need to create codes or something (I am not very coding proficient) to prevent the downloading of data.

In terms of the future of online entertainment, I think that it will become increasingly popular. As the demand will go up (because people are lazy and will rather watch movies at home than theatres), more and more websites will pop up.

Just my two cents.

Cheers,

King112

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  • 3 weeks later...

Problem with this issue is that copyrighting something that is already being used by many and has been used by many in the past. If you copyright a company making softwares for PCs and call it "microsoft" and copyright the name then it makes sense but trying to get copyrights of something that has been there on the internet, maybe hidden and not as popular as react videos by FineBros. They tried to act clever in my opinion by expanding their business while taking advantage from franchising but google isn't being run by kids. 

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