About This Case


28 Oct 2011, 11:59PM PT

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6 Oct 2011, 12:00AM PT


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Video Contest: Create A PSA Video Showing The Impact Of Technology On Creativity


Closed: 28 Oct 2011, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $1,000 for Insights on this case.

A few weeks ago we wrote about a contest that NBC Universal was putting on, officially through New York City, asking students to make propaganda films, repeating NBC Universal/MPAA talking points about how copyright infringement was damaging NBC Universal.  In going through the fine print on the contest, we noted a few oddities.  First, you were not supposed to actually use facts or data and make a case.  Instead, the rules flat out told you what your position was.  You had to support the claim that "piracy costs jobs."  Think the data shows that the real problem is legacy companies like NBC Universal not adapting to embrace new opportunities?  Too bad.

Even worse, the detailed fine print in the contest (which is pretty difficult to dig out), shows that if you win, you lose the copyright on your video.  Seriously.  It's pretty amazing that a video contest promoting the supposed importance of copyright to creators involves requiring creators to give up their copyrights.  The prize?  A measly $500.

So we're offering a competing contest, here via our Insight Community platform.  We're asking people to create PSA videos showing the impact of technology on creativity today.  We're not asking you to advocate any specific position at all, because unlike that other contest, we're pretty secure in our beliefs and won't melt like the wicked witch of the west should someone submit a PSA that challenges some of them.  We believe that the best videos will be both creative and have a factual basis.

Also, as per our standard Insight Community terms and conditions (and again unlike that other contest), you retain the copyright to whatever you do.  We would recommend a permissive license -- with our favorite being something like the CC0 Public Domain license or the WTFPL license, but it's entirely up to you.  The only condition -- as per our Ts & Cs, is that we're granted a license to make use of the work as well, for the sake of showing it on our sites (Insight Community and Techdirt).

Oh, and while that other contest is offering $500 to the winner, we're offering $1,000.  As a result of our original post, a bunch of you stepped up and offered up about $500 in donations for this contest, and we're matching that with another $500 ourselves.

Finally: in order to enter, you need to:

  1. have an Insight Community account (your Techdirt login will work if you have one, or create one on the Insight Community site),
  2. create your video and upload it somewhere public, such as YouTube or Vimeo,
  3. include your Insight Community username at the end of the video,
  4. add an "insight" entry to this case, in which you link to your own video.

That's it.


4 Insights


I've been hanging around the Balanced Copyright for Canada Facebook Group to keep them honest. They pretend to be artists. What they really are is a group of Recording Industry employees. Recently a post was made by the Group organizer about a film competition. Rather than try to explain it, here is the entire thread.


The Canadian Film Centre has announced a third round of The REEL Challenge Contest: Celebrating the Movie and Television Industry at Work.

Highlighting the over 1 Million Canadian jobs directly or indirectly connected to creative industries, the REEL Challenge Contest is an opportunity for filmmakers to speak out on the importance of promoting and protecting a vibrant entertainment industry in Canada.
How do you compel audiences to respect creators rights and copyrighted content? By creating a short film that tells a compelling story about why its important to protect the value of your creative work.
Like ·  · Share ·  September 6 at 4:44pm
  • 3 people like this.
    • Wayne Joseph Borean Victoria,

      Why would you like a contest that is so badly organized that when an interested film maker (my son) went to the 'CONTEST RULES AND GUIDELINES' page all he found was the words "Coming Soon."

      This is really useful to an interested artist.
      September 7 at 7:18pm · Like
    • Steve Kane That last two years have produced some entertaining shorts. I look forward to this years enttries
      September 7 at 9:14pm · Like
    • Wayne Joseph Borean At least if they are posted on a Canadian site, they won't get hit with a DMCA takedown:
      ticles/20110907/09453415839/double-bogus-dmca -takedown-all-way.shtml
      HappyCabbie alerts us to the news that "Hungrybear9562," whose real name is Paul...See More
      September 7 at 9:30pm · Like · 
    • Wayne Joseph Borean Here's an alternative contest, which has better rules. You also get to keep your copyright:
      og/ic/articles/20111006/022808/video-contest -create-psa-video-showing-impact-technology-creativity.shtml
      3 hours ago · Like · 
    • Wayne Joseph Borean Incompetence in action. The Reel Challenge contest was posted here just over once month ago. As of tonight, there are still no rules posted. From the page:


      Coming Soon


      Anyone who wanted to take part has lost a full month. Where they had a full third of a year when the announcement was made, they now have only a quarter of a year.

      Most people aren't going to make a decision until they know what the rules are. You'd have to be a fool to invest serious amounts of time and energy until you know what you are going to get out of something.

      Of course maybe that is the idea. To limit the entries to only the "approved" ones.
      How do you compel audiences to respect creators’ rights and copyrighted content?...See More
      17 minutes ago · Like · 

    Now the money is far better than what you posted, $10,000.00














So possibly some entrants will go ahead even not know what the rules are. But I think that the lack of rules on the site a month after the contest was organized, leaves me with little confidence in the contest.




Writer, Recording Engineer, Software Engineer, Lunatic.
pat donovan
Sun Oct 9 7:08am
did you seriously expect a people-person to get the details right?

my, you haven't dealt with sales-people, movie-types or politico much, have you?

the intell aspects of what they do might as well be labeled 'here be monsters' too.

making it on traffic + noise. score, win and game is about as complicated as they get.

where can you find a rabid monkey?

congress, any shopping mall, any movie shoot...



somewhere CLOSE to on topic... sorta.

59 secs long, canadian effort.

put yer phil (osophy) hat on, eh?



grunt. philosopher artist type. irish bard (teacher musician, priest, etc) cheack area163 on youtube
pat donovan
Mon Oct 10 6:31am


figures. forgot to sign the blasted thing.
that was about the only requirement too.

location, score win? uhm... maybe later edits too.


watch at yer own risk

grunt. philosopher artist type. irish bard (teacher musician, priest, etc) cheack area163 on youtube

Hey, check out my entry for the TechDirt PSA video contest. I shaped the concept into the style of my show but I do discuss the ideas behind piracy and whether it is right or wrong. Let me know what you think!


The Josh Speaks about piracy and it's effects on our digital culture. Does it inspire creativity or rob people of their well deserved profits? Can we eliminate piracy all together?

During the day I am a mild-mannered Marketing Manager. But on my off hours I develop web shows, comedy skits and vlogs. My mind is always on GO so be prepared.
pat donovan
Wed Oct 19 6:51am
hum. plus a new notice; the complainer on the un-supervised contests had an impact i guess.

Or maybe i did.

added annotations to the entry; makes it a new film, i guess.

Oh, and I use corel's VS-4 (editor) computer generated music for this, as an insight. if you can't tell the diff between real and fake, you're completely out of luck..