Star Wars Kid Viral Video Legal Issues

The video below illustrates the possible reaction of the potential peers of the producer and actor of the video. Watch it and you will see why there is concern…

Star Wars Kid YouTube Video
Receives Record 900 Million Views…. and a Law Suit

Star Wars Kid is a viral video made In 2002 by a chubby 15 year old Canadian teen who filmed himself acting out a fight scene from Star Wars, using a golf ball retriever as a makeshift light saber. By 2006, a year after YouTube went public, the Viral Factory reported that the video–viewed more than 900 million times–was the most-watched clip in the history of the Internet. Whether or not Raza wanted to be famous (he didn’t), the “Star Wars Kid” became the model for a new era, where YouTube rules. Enter the world of the Internet meme: where, for better or for worse, reality or play, our art lives on, through millions of clicks.

Video Background

Playing the part of Jedi master, Ghyslain Raza swooped, stumbled, and leapt, inserting his own sound effects, twirling his baton and pausing mid-battle to glare menacingly into the camera. It was funny, mostly because it wasn’t meant to be: for nearly a year, the video had sat untouched on a shelf in Raza’s school’s TV studio, until another student discovered it, digitized it and posted it to Kazaa.

How would Jeffrey G. Nutt & Associates PLLC handle his matter?

We would probably have filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act take-down notice right away. We believe this will prevent much of the circulation on YouTube. Additionally, we would file for copyright registration to be able to demand damages and purse remedies in court.

He had not intended for the video to become public, but its subsequent release led to ridicule during which Raza chose to distance himself from the video.Within days, “Star Wars Kid” became a viral frenzy, enhanced by music, graphics and special effects and passed around on blogs, file-sharing networks, and ultimately, on YouTube. Raza since has affirmed his identity and has used the video to help speak on the effects of bullying.

Harassment Lawsuit and Settlement

In July 2003, Raza’s family filed a $250,000 lawsuit against the families of four of his schoolmates. The lawsuit stated in part that he “had to endure, and still endures today, harassment and derision from his high-school mates and the public at large” and “will be under psychiatric care for an indefinite amount of time.” Legal proceedings against one family were quickly dropped. The lawsuit had been scheduled to begin trial on April 10, 2006, but on April 7, the boy and his parents reached an out-of-court settlement with the defendants.

Administrative Law Issues

Additionally, there are a few administrative law issues that come into play. States anti-bullying statues allow children and their parents to report bullying. Here at Jeffrey G. Nutt & Associates PLLC we can handle a variety of administrative law issues.

Sources for the article above: Newsweek, Wikipedia, TheFineBros, Sadeer Farjo Esq., Mark Anthony Nutt MFA

From the Michigan Department of Education


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