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I’m sorry for spamming yet one more of these articles, but I already jumped down these guys’ throats twice, so now it’s only fair that I bring closure to this on my side as well. When I say “as well”, I’m referring to this. The Fine Brother’s have put out an apology for the React World fiasco, and while I generally don’t give a damn about public apologies, this one was pretty good. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about and are curious, here’s the background: part 1, part 2)

While the brothers still insist their intentions were pure, they acknowledge that, given their history and the way this was handled, React World looked shady. They have suspended the React World plan, taken down their two videos on it (which is more of a cover-up move than an apologetic one; they should of left them up with annotated updates and released a new video explain that it’s not happening), and taken a few other steps.

They’ve supposedly rescinded their “React” trademark application, as well as other trademarks for “Kids React” and “Elders React”. We can’t verify this yet because the paperwork still has to go through, and I encourage people to keep an eye out to make sure this happens, but given the flak they’ve gotten, I doubt they’d try blatantly lying now.

They’re also releasing all their past YouTube content ID claims, which presumably includes those recently launched on their critics. Again, this will take some time to show, and I would encourage anyone who’s had a video claimed by the Find Brothers to help us in holding them to it. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases that damage is already done. One of the many cases of Fine Brothers content ID claims was against a channel called Stillcosmo, who created an “Seniors React” series. I say “created” and not “stole” because Stillcosmo actually made this series before the Fine Brothers created their “Elders React. In fact, the Fine Brothers, using YouTube’s systems, copyright claimed Stillcosmo’s “Seniors React”, got their channel taken down, and then one week later started their own “Elders React” series. Yeah, low. That was a long time ago though, and it may not be fair to hold them to it still. However, that did end Stillcosmo’s channel, and reversing the content ID claim now hardly matters, and doesn’t compensate the damage done. This is just one example.

Still, this really the most positive outcome we could have hoped for from this controversy, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Fine Brothers have “learned their lesson”, the internet has shown that we won’t let people get away with things like this.

Again, I implore abused creators to make sure their content is restored, and if it is not then speak out about it. I encourage others, and myself, to watch that these trademarks are abandoned.

The funny thing is, this actually goes further than what I called for. All I wanted was for the Fine Brothers to go through legal channels to find out, and let us find out, what is and isn’t their intellectual property. Some of the things they are now having to abandon in damage control may have actually been found to be theirs, if they had just handled this properly and above board to begin with. This hasn’t been a zero-sum outcome for them. They’ve lost big time, possibly including their Nickelodeon TV series (god, it’s weird to think that the same channel that brought us Avatar actually thought these guys’ content was worth airing; just give us Avatar reruns!).

While copyright in the digital era is still like the Wild West, it’s good to see that populous uprising can help regulate where the law fails to reach.

Don’t Lose Your Way