Students across Canada are protesting a contest asking them to give up intellectual property rights to their own designs.

The Government of Canada will be celebrating 150 years of Confederation in 2017 with a contest to find a new logo. The contest has a $5,000 prize for one student selected by a jury of six judges.

But the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) is leading a Twitter campaign against the contest, using the hashtag #MyTimeHasValue.

The RGD campaign has gained traction, with more than 12,000 views on a Flickr album that has over 160 pictures of people holding signs supporting the hashtag.

“They’re expecting a bunch of people to waste their time doing this logo,” said Rajan Al-Subairi, a graphic design student at Algonquin.

The contest relies on spec work submissions. Spec work is the submission of a product to a client without the promise of payment or recognition.


While the contest-winner receives $5,000, the other contestants are not compensated with money or any sort of recognition.

According to the contest rules, “finalists agree to transfer ownership of their intellectual property rights (including copyright) in the Entry to the Government of Canada.”

This means that student-contestants will not receive recognition or payment unless they win the contest.

“I haven’t entered in it, right now with all of the work at school,” said Kyle Jackson, a graphic design student. “I feel like my time could be better spent.”

The Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) has started a letter writing campaign. The campaign is based on a petition that adds each signature to the letter.

The GDC’s letter, with over 6,000 signatures, is targeting Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair, Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May, Shelly Glove and The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

“The government should be picking candidates and then pay them to make a logo,” said Sydney Dowd, another graphic design student. “That’d be a better option.”