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CBC Radio’s WireTap: Animated…UPDATE: Contest rules amended!!!

UPDATE: We posted this a few days ago, and a few of our regulars chimed in over the specifics of the ownership breakdown in the contest rules…. well, looks like the kind folks at the CBC were paying attention, and producer Mira Burt-Wintonick had this to say in our comments thread: We want you to know that we agree that the creators of the animations submitted to this contest should retain the rights to their work and be free to share and distribute their animations after the contest is over. We are amending the rules & regulations to that effect. Please visit our website for the full details:

Thank you to Mark and Beccy and Rob for sharing their thoughts in such a constructive manner, and thanks so much to Mira for listening, and responding.


There are few things so distinctly Canadian as the CBC.  Mounties and beavers.  That’s like the top three right there.  And hockey.  But other countries make a claim on that every now and then.  Mounties, beavers, and the CBC.  I don’t own anything with that orange logo from the seventies on it, but I keep meaning to pick up a hat or t-shirt.

Recently, CBC Radio One’s WireTap (Jonathan Goldstein’s show) decided to get into the animation game.  It’s a natural jump.  If you tell stories on the radio, then you have your audio record already done.  In this case, they brought it to Stephen Evans and James Braithwaite.  Here’s the result:

In addition, they’ve launched a contest where they’d like to see listeners/animators animate their own downloadable clip from the show, there are three to chose from. The contest is open to Canadian residents and the prize for most creative work is an Ipad.  The contest deadline is November 10th.
Contest details here.



  1. Mark Mayerson Mark Mayerson October 22, 2012

    I have urged Sheridan students not to participate in this. The rules essentially allow the CBC to clone the creator’s copyright and do whatever they want with the entry forever, including selling it to third parties and editing it. And they specifically state that the creator has no right to the supplied audio beyond the contest, so people who submit won’t even have the right to enter the film into festivals or to post it online unless they create a new soundtrack.

    I’m getting tired of contests where the company gets to do whatever they want with the work without compensating the creator or asking permission while the creator gets nothing in return. In this case, not even the right to exhibit the film.

  2. Rob the Animator Rob the Animator October 22, 2012

    I hate to poopoo contests here…But I’d have to agree.

    So many animation contests these days do little to really support and help artists like they claim.

    Though it’s true, it is in fact one way for a student artist to get their work out there, it’s more essentially a way of getting “a big something for nothing.”

    The fact of the mater is this: Decent animation takes a fair bit of time. Animators are busy to the bone even trying to make a humble living in this field.
    As a Flash Animator (the computer program this cartoon was made on) I know 5 minutes of decent animation can take 3-4 weeks.
    The worth of an Ipad is 500 dollars.
    So basically 3 dollars an hour for 3-4 weeks work?

    No thanks CBC. Animation is an art that takes a lot of time, concentration and patience. By them tossing in a free ipad as your main prize only shows that they don’t appreciate this fact.

    CBC, respectfully, why don’t you try making a contest that’s worth it for the artist. You’ll probably get more quality entries this way anyways, am I right?

    I’m pretty sure the artist that made the The Log Drivers Waltz got paid properly for it.
    Though, there’s always the likely chance, he probably didn’t and now look at how classic the film has become.

    Be warned animators. Everyone wants something for free!

    • Mike Valiquette Mike Valiquette Post author | October 23, 2012

      I so love when the comments section engages!
      I’m completely in agreement with you guys about contests. As a general rule, we’ve come to accept them as something to be avoided. It does open the door to a conversation about value, something I’ve talked about a lot with my former students at Algonquin. I can see this contest, for the right person, having a sufficient value. Yeah, it’s very easy to look at this as CBC looking for free content. Most of these types of things are, and I won’t say that this is any different. But there’s an argument made that there’s any malicious or opportunistic intent behind it. It’s getting very easy to just make blanket statements about anyone with a broadcast outlet. For the right individual, this contest could be a fun opportunity to do some animation that will get seen by an audience outside of their facebook friends. For the right person, getting their hands on some audio, from a show they might be fans of, that could be value.
      I’m getting a bit circular here. I guess what I’m saying is that yes, contests are generally fools errands, being offered by companies whose entire business models are being structured around acquiring free content. Most of these situations are bad, outright. And animators should be wary of them.
      But sometimes it’s still just fun to do these things, as long as you go in with your eyes open. Assess the value for yourself, then decide. I think we’re losing a bit of that these days.
      Thanks guys!

  3. Mark Mayerson Mark Mayerson October 23, 2012

    I wouldn’t object to these contests half so much if the only films that the contest holders gained control over were the winners. That way, the people who would be giving up control of their work would be compensated in some way. But for the contest holder to take everything, regardless of whether a film wins or not, is just theft plain and simple.

    The people running the contest get paid. Why shouldn’t artists?

  4. Rebecca David Rebecca David October 23, 2012

    Gonna chime in here and agree with Mark!

    I think it’s “fair” for the CBC (or any other organization) to get the rights to the winning film. You made a film, you got “paid” via a prize for your film, then the film is theirs. However, if you submitted something and they get to have it regardless, that seems a little below deck for me.

    It seems likely that the reason they are taking rights to all submissions is because they contain audio that is CBC property. You don’t get to “keep” your submission because they don’t want you to distribute their content mixed with yours. If that’s the case, I’d be happier if they merely obtained distribution rights for the winning video and then the rest were legally barred from spreading the non-wining submissions.

    The bottom line (where I get to also agree with Mike) is that I would tally up the pros and cons here and decide that this isn’t worth it. If I don’t even get to show off this work to my Facebook friends (assuming one lost the contest) then why would I put forth all the effort to make something.

    This particular contest seems truly low-gain. But, if you really care based on legal terms, you could email the CBC themselves about it! This has worked for other “spec work contests” run by other companies. They may simply have not considered it from our end.

  5. Mira Burt-Wintonick Mira Burt-Wintonick October 26, 2012

    Thanks for your feedback about WireTap’s Animation Tournament of Champions. We want you to know that we agree that the creators of the animations submitted to this contest should retain the rights to their work and be free to share and distribute their animations after the contest is over. We are amending the rules & regulations to that effect. Please visit our website for the full details:

    We also want you to know that we are not expecting professional caliber work to be entered into this contest, nor proposing that professional animators should deliver work without getting anything in return. We simply thought this contest would be a fun way for fans of the show to get involved, whether they be first-time animators looking for a creative challenge, or skilled animators looking for a different outlet and potential platform for their work.

    Thanks again.
    Mira Burt-Wintonick, Producer, CBC

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