Disney Tries to Make School Pay $250 for watching The Lion King?!!

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An elementary school in California played The Lion King at a parent-teacher association (PTA) meeting. If you didn’t know, the school PTA is all of a school’s parents and teachers who work together to make sure the classes and school activities are well-planned and also have all the money they need.

Image of a PTA meeting with parents and teachers talking together.

Disney CEO, Bob Iger, had to personally say sorry to a parent-teacher association group. This is because they were fined $250 for buying a DVD of The Lion King and playing it during a fundraising event. 

Iger said on Twitter, “Our company [Disney] apologizes to the Emerson Elementary School PTA and I will personally donate to their fundraising…” So it seems Disney didn’t want to fine the school, it was just an accident.

The school, Emerson Elementary School, was fined $250 by the licensing firm Movie Licensing USA for playing the movie during a “parent’s night out” fundraiser that raised $800, according to the news channel CNN. The fundraiser was set up to help out teachers and bring more money into the school. A tweet from the Emerson PTA stated, “ONE OF THE DADS BOUGHT THE MOVIE AT BEST BUY”.

Movie Licensing USA is a company that works with Disney and also other movie companies. This company sent an email to Emerson Elementary telling them they found out about the PTA showing the movie, and the school needed to pay a $250 fine for showing the movie because the school didn’t have the licensing rights. The email, which CNN found, noted that “any time a movie is shown outside of the home… permission is needed to show it, as it is considered a Public Performance.”

Members of the PTA didn’t know they had to license it. “One of the dads bought the movie at Best Buy,” PTA president David Rose told CNN. “He owned it. We literally had no idea we were breaking any rules.”

There are a lot of strange questions with no answers. How did Movie Licensing USA even find out about the event? Who told the company about this small fundraising event?

Disney is known for its being tough on copyrights, but it’s usually over parts of its movies on YouTube and other internet sites or clothing using Disney characters — not a school fundraising event where a father bought and played a movie.
At least Iger is trying to say sorry and fix this. But we still don’t know how they learned the school showed the movie….