Perhaps you've heard of the latest attempt to trademark a rather common word that is used on Twitter. Whatever becomes of The Fine Brothers' "React World," or their trademark application on the word "React," this comprehensive vivisection from pop culture jokesters Mega64 tells you how poorly received the Fines' message has been so far.
To truly understand the quality of Mega64's mockery here, you need to be familiar with the video below, released on Jan. 26 by Fine Brothers Entertainment. They're well known for showing old stuff to young kids or new stuff to old people and filming their nonplussed reactions as a form of comedy.
Update: Well, the two videos that kicked off this mess have gone dark. That is because the Fine Brothers, in a display of ultimate contrition, not only are canceling their plans for their "React World" licensing service, they're going to abandon their application for "react" as a trademark and, they say, rescind all outstanding registered trademarks such as "Kids React" and "Elders React." There are more details in this post on Medium.
The rest of the original post follows.
More or less, the Fine Brothers are trying to convince people who pursue the same kind of video subject to do so through them — obviously giving them a cut of the action in the process. Implied — although strenuously denied by the Fines in a subsequent video — is that someone doing a reaction video might get an email from an intellectual property lawyer.
The Fines noticed the vehement rejection of their business opportunity offer to the rest of YouTube and released another video that somehow makes it all even worse. Fine Brothers Entertainment has registered trademarks on things like "Kids Reactt" or "Elders React" and few seemed to care about that. But claiming "React" itself for "entertainment services ... in the field of observing and interviewing various groups of people" (search for serial no. 86689364 here) drew a very unfavorable, well, reaction.
Their second video's DNA is in Mega64's cruel parody as well. The general public has rarely shown any sympathy to trademark efforts or disputes of any type, and, regardless of the law or someone's rights and obligations under it, have a hard time accepting any common word as some person's property, for whatever use.
As Kotaku noted, trademark applications usually don't attract attention and don't get shot down unless, well, they do. For an example of that, look no further than Sony's bid for "Let's Play" — as the trademarked title of playthrough videos — that was handed an all-but-fatal ruling from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when a law firm filed a well supported objection. So the Fine Brothers' rather fulsome introduction of their business scheme — an historic day? Really? — is even more of a disaster than it appears on the surface. Again, they have only applied for this trademark (and did so in July); it is not registered to them.
This counter shows Fine Brothers Entertainment still hemorrhaging subscribers in the aftermath, down some 28,000 today and falling below the 14 million mark over the weekend. That reaction, it seems, is the one that really matters in all this.