A California father's decision to put on a DVD of "The Lion King" to entertain kids at a parents'-night-out fundraiser may end up costing an elementary school $250, Berkeleyside reports.
And since the school does not have a license with the company, it's been asked to pay $250 for the screening - and $250 per showing of the movie at any future events at the school. "He had bought it at Walmart or something like that and we just basically threw it on while the kids were playing in the auditorium", David Rose, the President of Emerson PTA, said.
That was until Emerson Elementary School received an email from a licensing company Thursday - more than two months after the event - saying they had to pay $250 for illegally screening the movie.
Copyright law says you can not display a movie outside of your home to any size audience for entertainment purposes without paying a licensing fee. The company enforces Disney's cinematic copyrights and the letter demanded $250 from the school for playing the film without a license. "You know, lesson learned", Rose said.
Berkeley City Council member Lori Droste, who is also a parent at Emerson Elementary, blasted the fine on Twitter. The dads didn't realize that and now appear to be on the hook for the $250 one-time showing fee. The PTA's fundraisers don't just support frivolous items.
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"Here you have a company that makes so much money and we have schools that are struggling so much", Droste said. "What I thought about was just the irony of having a multi-billion dollar company essentially ask a school to pay up".
The company did not have records of Emerson having a license with the company or its parent company - Swank Motion Pictures - for the showing, Goellner said in an email to the Emerson PTA. Did a parent turn them in or is the company scanning the internet and noticed the listing in the school calendar?
The PTA president says the organization will pay the fee and they hope that amount can be recouped through donations. Sure, I get that but coming after an elementary school?
"The fundamental message is this: it's absurd that PTAs throughout California have to raise money (a lot!) to pay for teachers and financial scholarships when this can be easily remedied through investment in our public schools", she tweeted on Monday.
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