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

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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.

13 Responses to “Legend of Bridezilla: You Can’t Own a YouTube Hit”

  1. It’s my understanding that the hair company wanted to associated “wig out” with some some unfortunate feeling of total insanity that apparently women around the world can relate to (given the number of people who thought this just might be real).

    Next they will offer a cure, in phase 2 on tv.

  2. Liz Gannes

    Nah, YouTube is pretty clear about it. There was a misinformed hubbub a while back, so they edited the terms to say “For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions.” Basically, you grant YouTube a license to your content by posting, but it goes away when you take it down. You also tell YouTube you own the content when you post it, but obviously that’s something people often disregard.

  3. The real question is, does ANYBODY own it but youtube?
    This could be a pretty new legal issue…

    I should read the YouTube T&C… but don’t you relinquish the rights to a video if you post your own video?

  4. Liz Gannes

    You’re right, I should watch more TV. But I still think the point — retroactively claiming a viral hit is hard — stands. Bridezilla Media can’t take claim to the original hit on YouTube because at some point whoever put it up requested to take it down, and it was under some random name.

  5. I don’t think there’s as big of a mixup as you point out.

    I guess it makes sense to be a LITTLE skeptical, but the hair company has produced a contract from a month ago asking them to make the ad. The people taking credit are taking credit for different things.

    The ad agency/hair company came up with the campaign (‘WIG OUT” and what not), hired Ingrid, and pointed her in the right direction.

    Ingrid ( came up with the script, hired the actresses, worked with them, filmed, directed, and out popped the final product.

    Behan was the main actor, and is obviously looking for acting jobs.

    Makes sense to me!

  6. I dont really understand your article.

    According to GMA these girls had a contract with this hair company and ad agency for a month. No discrepency there.

    All of the girls aspire to be actresses. Jodi Behan was in front of the camera. She is hoping this will lead to some work.

    GMA said Ingrid was behind the camera. She too would like work, and in the mean time would like to find another project to work on. That is why she started

    Your articles should read other articles and watch tv so it doesnt sound like it doesn’t know stuff :(

  7. Steve Bryant

    This is an error, but it’s mostly my fault. is registered to Kleiman.

    When I chatted with Liz last night, I told her was registered to Portent. That was a mistake: I mistyped the URL into Netsol’s WHOIS service, leaving off the “media” part. When I realized my mistake, I IM’d Liz to say I mistyped the URL, but obviously she didn’t see the IM.

    However, Liz’s basic point stands: Those who achieve viral success aren’t necessarily prepared to manage their fame. In Bridezilla’s case, both Liz and I spoke with three or more companies/people claiming some degree of responsibility for the video. The conflicting information that we received — from several conflicting sources — increases the likelihood of error.

    That said, I’d like to apologize to Liz for passing on erroneous info, albeit by accident, and not ensuring that I clarified the error.


  8. Liz Gannes

    It does appear to be registered to a guy in Canada, and I’m pretty sure that is the guy who emailed Steve. Steve’s most likely sleeping now, but we’ll check with him in the a.m.