The Fine Brothers Benny and Rafi

The Fine Brothers

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About

The Fine Brothers, made up of Benny and Rafi Fine, are YouTube producers best known for their React series in which different groups of people are filmed watching viral videos.

Online History

On September 21st, 2004, the brothers released their first YouTube video titled "GI Joe The Epic Saga," featuring action figures for characters from the children's cartoon series G.I. Joe (shown below). The series gained a fan following online, but were subsequently taken down due to cease and desist orders from Hasbro in 2006.[10] The videos were subsequently reuploaded on YouTube on alternate accounts.



On June 4th, 2007, the Fine Brothers Entertainment YouTube channel[1] was launched. The first video uploaded to the channel was titled "Burger King Safety Dance," in which a man wearing a Burger King mask dances to the 1982 new wave song "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats (re-upload shown below).



React Series

On October 16th, 2010, the React series was launched with the episode "Kids React to Viral Videos #1," featuring various children reacting to various viral videos, including Double Rainbow and "2 Bunnies 2 Cups" (shown below, left). On November 17th, 2011, a "Teens React" series premiered, which followed the same premise but contained more mature videos (shown below, right).



On May 24th, 2012, the series "Elders React" was created, featuring seniors watching viral videos on YouTube (shown below, left). On December 2nd, the first "YouTubers React" video was uploaded, in which various notable YouTube vlogger are filmed watching YouTube videos (shown below, right).



MyMusic

On April 15th, 2012, the brothers launched the mockumentary comedy show MyMusic, based around a cast of characters working at the fictional MyMusic production company. Originally created as a TV show, it grew into a web show after $100 million funding from Youtube, as part of their Original Channel Initiative[2][3].



React World and Trademark Controversy

On January 26th, 2016, Fine Brothers Entertainment revealed plans to trademark the brand name "REACT" and provide licenses to those who wished to make their own Fine Brothers-style reaction videos. In a video about the new "React World" licenses, the brothers claimed they only require ad revenue sharing and no upfront fees to license holders (re-upload shown below, left). On January 28th, the video reached the front page of /r/videos,[11] where many expressed displeasure with the YouTube producers for attempting to license their reaction video format. Within four days, the post gained over 9,400 votes (95% upvoted) and 6,400 comments.



In the following days, several well-known vloggers on YouTube began sharing their reactions to the Fine Bros' announcement. On January 28th, YouTuber Cr1tikal posted a video reacting to the announcement, which criticized it as an overreaching attempt at copyrighting reaction videos on YouTube (shown below, left). On January 29th, YouTuber Boogie2988 posted a video expressing apprehension toward the idea of licensing the reaction video format (shown below, right).



On January 31st, the brothers released an update video in which they attempted to address many concerns about their "React World" licensing program. In the video, they claimed they were not attempting to copyright "reaction videos" but were merely trying to license to those who wished to use their exact format (re-upload shown below).



On February 1st, Kotaku[5] published an article about the controversy, noting a similarity to the Sony's unsuccessful trademarking of "LetsPlay". The same day, the Guardian[6] published an article explaining the backlash and the mentioning how the Fine Brothers YouTube channel was losing a significant number of subscribers. Additionally, the article reported that the Fine Brothers had previously submitted takedown requests for videos on YouTube, including "Seniors React" and "British Kids React." Meanwhile, several YouTubers created livestreams highlighting the rapidly decreasing subscriber count, including Sabconth[7] and SCRUFFY JC[8]. Many critics circulated the only statistics website Socialblade[9], providing real-time updates of the Fine Brothers' subscription count. From January 26th to February 1st, the channel lost over 100,000 subscribers per day.



The evening of of February 1st, Fine Brothers Entertainment published an open apology letter on the blogging platform Medium,[12] noting they would be rescinding the trademark for "React," end the "React World" program and release all past content takedowns on YouTube.

Search Interest

External References

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