In this age of modern technology innovations where people are able to complete almost any tasks with the click of a mouse button or a few keystrokes on a keyboard, new rules are being made and broken on a daily basis concerning copyright and trademark ownership.
The Internet’s Backlash
One particular area where modern technology, copyright ownership, and trademark ownership are moving along a very blurred line of distinction is the Internet. The question of what is actual property ownership and what is for public consumption is being raised on a daily basis.
Regarding copyright and trademark ownership rights involving operations that occur primarily on the Internet, one of the main problem areas is copyright and trademark laws that were made before the use of the Internet became mainstream. These laws do not directly address the differences between Internet based business operations and traditional business operations.
Fine Bros Entertainment Controversy
This particular situation is demonstrated vividly in the current Fine Bros Entertainment controversy regarding copyright and trademark law interpretations surrounding the brother’s YouTube reaction video productions. The controversy revolves around the brother’s attempt to license out its React brand and video format on a profit sharing basis.
In general the brother’s plan was based on generating profits around their YouTube audience that watches their various reaction videos. The brothers wanted to apply the franchise model to their video content by offering a Fine Bros template for other people to create reaction videos. These videos would ultimately be distributed and shown in front of their Fine Bros YouTube audience.
Backlash Against The Fine Bros Entertainment Attempt
This effort resulted in serious backlash in the business world and the Internet community as a whole. One of the problems with the brother’s attempt was that people did not need the brother’s template to create videos. In addition, the main issue with the brother’s licensing attempt was that many people felt the Fine Bros were trying to profit and misuse the creativity of other people who wanted to create reaction videos. The Fine Bros had earlier taken steps to gain trademark rights for their react video concept, but their interpretation of the trademark efforts were in question.
Many people consider trademark rights in a very liberal manner. Therefore, once trademark rights are granted, the trademark owners can flex the power of their trademark rights based on their personal thought process. The Fine Bros attempt was to use the trademark rights to block competition and force people to adhere to their profit scheme.
Additionally the brothers had plans in place to use their YouTube copyright assets to influence other video creators to go through Fine Bros concerning certain video activities.
Fine Bros Backed Off Their Attempt Under Intense Pressure
However, under intense pressure, the Fine Bros backed off their trademark attempts and their copyright asset usage plan. The controversy surrounding Fine Bros Entertainment is an example of the problems surrounding the Internet and traditional trademark and copyright laws.
Traditional trademark and copyright ownership is based on different concepts than the Internet. The interpretation of usage and ownership on the Internet is based on a digital world that has not been around for a significant time period in comparison to the traditional way that trademarks and copyrights are interpreted and enforced.
In legal views, the Fine Bros legal rights were not enough to allow them to be able to accomplish the plans they wanted to put in place. The trademark and copyright claims they attempted to push were based on interpretations of trademark and copyright ownership that the brothers would not have been able to legally mandate in actual legal terms.
Issues With Trademark And Copyright Claims
However, the enforcement of trademark and copyright claims are sometimes based on the financial strength of the parties involved in the infringement claim. If the brothers were granted their reaction video trademark ownership, the enforcement of the trademark ownership could be difficult to fight unless people are able to go to court to fight a trademark infringement claim. With limited finances or without the ability to go to court, many people could have been forced to back off their attempts to create videos against Fine Bros claims.
This is why the uproar was so widespread regarding the Fine Bros attempts to profit off their reaction video business through gaining trademark ownership concerning their videos and using their copyright assets. If allowed, the brothers could have attempted to develop a monopoly around their reaction videos.
The business world needs trademarks, patents, and copyrights to protect legal ownership of ideas, concepts, and developments made by businesses and individuals. However, there is a gray area regarding all trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
It is this gray area that many people have concerns about related to content, audio, and video provided on the Internet. People and businesses need legal protection for their properties, but the public community as a whole needs protection against property owners who attempt to enforce their property rights in questionable ways.