In the waning weeks of December, cyberspace was taken by storm by the startling video of a golden eagle snatching an unsuspecting baby before plopping it back down on its diapered derriere. The video garnered 30 million views in its first four days and had just about every naturalist out there challenging its authenticity.

And yes, it was a hoax, but it wasn't malicious at heart. The video was created by students from the 3-D Animation and Digital Design program at Montreal’s Centre NAD. Both bird and babe were created in 3-D animation and integrated into the film afterwards. Parents of toddlers everywhere exhaled a collective sigh of relief. But while most fake videos become little more than a footnote in hoax history, this one has grown some legs.

Some video channels earn six figures annually with YouTube advertising partner programs, but the school and the students who created the eagle masterpiece are unable to profit from the video because it was made with educational software. (Software bought under an educational license is sold at a reduced cost but can only be used for educational (not commercial) purposes.)

So rather than let all of that potential ad revenue go to waste, the school checked with the licensing agreements and decided on an alternative solution. They got an AdSense account, and the video is now generating money that will be directed toward a scholarship for a deserving student at the school.

School spokeswoman Claude Arsenault says the amount of the scholarship won’t be known until they receive a check. But with more than 41 million views to date, they hope the amount it will be substantial.

Putting the money to a good cause is fine with the kids who made the minute-long video, who were rewarded with top marks for their work. Normand Archambault, one of the students involved said, “Knowing that we helped get the school on the map — it’s a good feeling.”

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Baby-snatching eagle video now earning money for scholarship
A Montreal school offers a good lesson on how to turn a hoax into a charitable cause.