The Strange World Of Web Celebs

Internet Jedi CBS

A kid alone with a video camera waving a golfball retriever, like a Jedi warrior. A private moment of clumsy 10th grade innocence until four classmates put the tape on the Internet.

Today, as CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara reports, this 15-year-old small town Canadian is known to tens of millions planet-wide as the "Star Wars Kid."

"This young man has gone from being a geek to an Internet icon," says copyright attorney James Davis.

Out of the Web wilderness, more than 100 homemade video remakes have come, like the "Star Wars Kid in Star Wars" and the "Kid in Tetris." He's even been blamed even for the Cubs' loss in the baseball playoffs. There's no end to it.

There's even an online petition to get the boy a role in a real "Star Wars" movie, but he wants none of it, dropping out of his Quebec high school and getting psychiatric care.

His parents are suing the boys who put the tape on the Internet.

"This is, I think, a phenomenon that we will see more and more of and not just in situations where tapes are made voluntarily, but where surreptitious recordings are made," says Davis.

It's a lesson socialite Paris Hilton learned the hard way; that from a laptop computer anyone can launch a worldwide smear campaign and transform a private life into public ridicule. Just point and click.

From this online TV news story about whistling tail-pipe devices, a customer offered his own sound effects and created an unflattering online portrait gallery hubbub around a guy who calls himself "Bubb Rubb."

Katie Deborde, on the other hand, puts everything about herself on her Web site.

"I have pictures of my car," she says. "Some people might think that I'm trying to be exhibitionist or I'm really full of myself and I'm not."

She says she's warned all the time that her life online, could be putting her life on the line.

"I'm going to be reasonably safe, which is what I try to do," she says. "But I'm going to do what I love. I gotta be me."

If fame really is measured in minutes, infamy on the Internet could take years to fade when it's always there in cyberspace.
  • Jaime Holguin

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