Revenge of the Unwilling Jedi

Ghyslain Raza, the Canadian boy featured in the Star Wars spoof video that circulated the ‘Net some time back, prompting Andy Baio to take up a collection towards an iPod for Ghyslain and my defense of Baio’s fundraising, has filed suit against his classmates for the mental strain caused by his unwanted celebrity.

The lawsuit filed last week alleges that four classmates of Mr Raza stole the video from the cupboard in which it was being stored, digitized the clip, posted it online and then invited people to view it and make insulting remarks. Since the original was posted on the Kazaa file-sharing system, it has been downloaded and passed around to millions of people and Mr Raza’s story has been featured in newspapers all over the world.

I have no strong feelings about this case–on one hand, his image was exploited without his desire or permission, on the other hand, I’m not sure how bad the damage could be. Although some people were exceedingly cruel in their comments on the video, others were incredibly supportive. And he did get an iPod and $3600 US out of the deal. Still, I’m more than happy to see the courts deal with these issues–that’s what they’re there for, after all.

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