One school learned just how serious licensing companies take public performance showings.
Emerson Elementary School held a fundraiser on November 15, 2019 of the “The Lion King” remake organized by students’ parents.
This event was meant to be a fun night at the movies for students and parents at Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, California with pizza and screening of “The Lion King” and it ended up raising $800. However, last Tuesday the Emerson PTA received a letter from Movie Licensing USA, a licensing company representing Disney to pay a $250 fine for a screening license, CNN reported.
According to the Federal Copyright Act, copyrighted materials like movies can only be used for a public performance if they’re properly licensed. However, neither the rental nor purchase of a movie carries the right to exhibit it outside of one’s home, Movie Licensing USA’s website states.
Since the story broke, the Emerson PTA has held another fundraiser to help pay for the fine.
While it stands to reason that Disney is within their right however, CEO and Chairman of Disney Bob Iger tweeted an apology on Twitter stating, “Our Walt Disney Company apologizes to the Emerson Elementary School PTA and I will personally donate to their fundraising initiative.”
Berkeley City Council member Lori Droste, who is also a parent at Emerson Elementary, made no bones about her feelings that she felt Disney was being unfair has tweeted a response to Iger’s tweet on Twitter saying, “We are relieved to hear this and are excited to discuss this and other @Disney policies which affect schools throughout California.”
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