UNCOVERING THE TRUTH OF “LONELYGIRL15”
Last week’s outing of lonelygirl15 quickly became the stuff of Internet legend. Rumors were already circulating that this YouTube favorite was a hoax when a reporter and his son broke the news on SiliconValleyWatcher that the supposed 16-year-old girl recording confessional videos in her bedroom was actually a 20-something actress named Jessica Rose. The next day, reporters Virginia Heffernan and Tom Zeller Jr. confirmed the story in The New York Times.
Lonelygirl15 is a fictional vlog that came to national attention via YouTube, a popular video sharing website. The central character is a YouTube user of the same name, although she is commonly known as Bree. This article refers to both the character and the series interchangeably.
Originally thought to be real, the character achieved massive popularity with her series of videos. But viewers began to question the reality of the videos, and the character was soon exposed as a fiction, played by the New Zealand actress, Jessica Rose. The series was created by Ramesh Flinders, a screenwriter and film-maker from Marin County, California, and Miles Beckett, a surgical residency dropout-turned-film-maker The series was developed under the working title The Children of Anchor Cove.
Less well known is that father-and-son lawyers played key roles in this Internet melodrama, one in the creation of lonelygirl15 and the other in her outing. The son, Gregory L. Goodfried, a 2005 law school graduate and an associate with the Los Angeles firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, was one of the video’s three co-creators, all described by news reports as aspiring filmmakers. His two creative partners, Miles Beckett and Mesh Flinders, reportedly met at a party earlier this year and then joined with Goodfried to script and film the series of short videos.
When Goodfried got his father involved, the scheme began to unravel, not because of the father but because of sharp-eyed Internet sleuths. In August, Kenneth Goodfried, a lawyer in Encino, filed an application to trademark “Lonelygirl15.” An astute fan picked up on the filing, and the news swept the Internet. From there, it was only a matter of time before fans uncovered the true identities of lonelygirl15 and her creators. Till now, several jurists still searching the law aspect related with this phenomena. What do you think about the hoax of lonelygirl15? Can the legal system define it as a criminal conduct?
See also: “Creators of Lonelygirl15 blogs go public”, MSNBC.com