The Lesson of the Star Wars Kid
Posted on April 9, 2006Ghyslain Raza, also known as the Star Wars Kid, has settled with the families of three students involved in the creation and uploading of the video of Raza in a mock battle with a lightsaber. Overwhelmed with ridicule from classmates and the Internet, the humiliated Raza suffered from depression and ultimately dropped out of school. Globeandmail.com reports that the settlement was for $351,000 in damages.
It can be great fun to upload a video of yourself or a friend and watch that video viral around the blogs and the Internet. However, you need to make sure the end result of all that publicity will be good for you and/or the people in the video. You don't want to end up being mocked like the Star Wars Kid was and you also don't want to end up being sued by someone for uploading a video they never wanted made public. An earlier article about Ghyslain Raza's unwanted Internet fame can be found here on USA Today. The article ends with this advice from programmer Andy Baio, "if you don't want to risk being the next Star Wars Kid, you should be very careful about what you videotape and where you keep it." With the growing numbers of video sharing websites this advice is more important than ever.As Ghyslain Raza recalled, whenever he walked by his high school's common areas, other students would jump on tables and chant, "Star Wars Kid! Star Wars Kid!"
There would be a commotion as they shouted and poked at him, trying to get a reaction. "It was simply unbearable," he said.
An otherwise ordinary teen in this Quebec small town, Mr. Raza had become a worldwide object of ridicule when schoolmates put on the Internet a video of him clumsily pretending to be a Star Wars character.
Three years later, Mr. Raza and his parents this week reached an out-of-court settlement with the families of three former schoolmates they had sued for $351,000 in damages.