Legend of Bridezilla: You Can’t Own a YouTube Hit

Remember Bridezilla? We wrote up this viral video last week, focusing on the fact that multiple parties were claiming responsibility for a hit clip depicting a bride hacking off her hair an hour before her wedding. Since then, we’ve been updating the post, but each day we get a little bit more confused about what’s going on.

This isn’t the only case where it takes a bit of detective work to guess who’s behind a YouTube video. It’s no easy task to identify yourself as the creator of a clip, especially when it gets popular and replicated. Then the secondary market takes over, from well-placed parodies to carpetbaggers selling your video to sites that don’t ask where it came from.

Web videos are often passed around with little identifying information across multiple video sites, evading the clutches of their creators. That proves to be a problem for little guys and big guys alike.

Since Viacom’s widely covered takedown requests last week, its shows continue to play on YouTube and harmless clips have been taken down at Viacom’s behest. If you don’t own television outlets with millions of viewers, claiming responsibility — or figuring out who’s responsible for a clip — is pretty much a lost cause.

Take Bridezilla. What’s clear is multiple people are trying to ride the clip’s coattails by claiming responsibility. Jodi Behan, the Toronto woman who says she starred in the video, keeps giving quotes about how she wants to parlay it into acting gigs: “I don’t really care for it all, if it’s just going to be 15 minutes of fame.”

A haircare company issued a press release claiming responsibility for the clip and hasn’t responded to our phone calls since. Now, our pal Steve Bryant tells us he’s been contacted by a guy from Bridezilla Media, whose site is registered to an Ian Lurie of Portent Interactive in Seattle. Bryant called Portent, and they denied responsibility. Update: See comments for Steve’s clarification. He later figured out he mistyped the URL.

Meanwhile, the YouTube clip has been removed by its original poster, so the best Bridezilla Media can do is point to a newer version with only 64,700 views. It was posted by “djjeremy,” who says he lives in Dallas.

Viral success is a fleeting concept these days, but everyone wants a piece of it. The most convincing thing you can do is have your own face in the video — we’re more apt to believe this Jodi Behan character is who she says she is when she shows up on Good Morning America. But then, there are exceptions to every rule; in the case of a hit like “My Box in a Box,” the singer and woman on camera were two different people.

Befuddled yet? Me too.

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