YouTube has come a long way since its creation in 2005. Gone are the simple times where people uploaded videos of montages of their cute dog or cat me­owing or playing with its toys. Now people are having actual success and making a living off of YouTube with the content they present. With this ability to make a living, some have found massive success with it, such as PewDiePie. PewDiePie is one of the biggest channels on YouTube with over 42 million subscribers. In 2014, Swedish newspaper Expressen re­ported that he made $7.4 million in that year.

Though not everyone on YouTube is like PewDiePie, there are people that have been able to make a career out of creating YouTube videos. You­Tubers like Jim Sterling, Markiplier, Game Grumps, and many more have all found success with YouTube. With this success, however, comes those channels who try to regulate and trademark their work within You­Tube.

On Jan. 26th, 2016, FineBros, a YouTube channel that specializes in reaction videos, tried to trademark the word “reaction.” They did this by creating the “Reaction World” pro­gram in which other channels can partner up with FineBros so that they could use their formula. An example of this is grabbing a specific demo­graphic, such as children or teenagers, and showing them a video. This vid­eo can come from any number of genres. It can be a funny music video such as “Gangnam Style,” or politi­cally sensitive things, like gay mar­riage. They then show the audience’s reactions.

This created a number of issues. The primary one was the fact that someone was trying to trademark the word “reaction.” This means if you did not get permission to use the word “reaction,” then the possibility of hav­ing your video taken down was very likely. On Feb. 1st, after losing over 250,000 subscribers to their channel, and having heard a fair amount of criticism, FineBros ceased the “Reac­tion World” program and stopped trying to trademark the word.

Reaction videos are a really com­mon genre, and FineBros are not the first to come up with this “formula.” Others have come up with similar ideas. One of the earliest examples is Bill Cosby’s TV show Kids Say the Darndest Things, which showed chil­dren reacting to various things.

It’s shocking to see how a channel can try to trademark such an obliga­tory term, due to the fact that the term has been around longer than FineBros, but they are the first to try to trademark such a term. But it just goes to show that YouTube, and the number of successful channels, are growing. Some of these changes that are occurring with YouTube are due to other successful video services pushing their influence onto You­Tube.

As time goes by, more and more people are finding success with You­Tube as a career. If YouTube wants to start creating programs that generate more profit for the company and those partnered with them, then more power to them.

YouTube just recently released a new monthly subscription-based pro­gram called YouTube Red in order to compete with other video subscrip­tion giants such as Netflix and Hulu. This program gives YouTube channels support in creating original content meant for only YouTube Red. For example, PewDiePie is working with YouTube to create a new show called Scare PewDiePie, in which PewDiePie is forced into situations and stunts that are meant to be scary, such as him being locked in a cage that is filling with slime.

Besides trying to compete with video streaming services such as Net­flix and Hulu, YouTube is also making an attempt to compete with live streaming websites. Twitch is one of the best known live streaming web­sites out there. In order to have a place in the market, YouTube created its new live streaming service YouTube Gaming. YouTube Gaming virtually shares the same aspects as Twitch by allowing people to live stream.

YouTube is beginning to grow as a website, and at the same time, shed­ding its preconceived notion of just being a hobby for those with a camera and too much time on their hands. Technology is a new frontier in the economic market, and YouTube is one of the websites leading the way to this new digital age. As more people find success with YouTube, more channels will begin to industrialize and try to earn more money like other busi­nesses, though hopefully they will not try to attempt to trademark specific phrases like FineBros did.

ILLUSTRATION BY FELICIA CHANG
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