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School Fundraiser Has to Pay Back!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Think about this situation: a group of school parents, who are part of a Parents Teacher Association, host a “parent’s night out” fundraiser involving a film showing for the children. It’s a successful event, with money raised, and overall, great for the scholastic community in the area. A few months go by, and an email arrives, notifying the school that they owe money for the showing, demanded by the licensing company of the movie!

What may seem like a good public and heartfelt act ends up becoming a headache, upsetting outcome. This is exactly what happened to an elementary school, Emerson Elementary School, in Berkeley, California. Somehow the licensing company, Movie Licensing USA  (who manages the licensing of Disney), ‘received an alert’ indicating that a public viewing of 2019’s remake of Lion King has screened. The school violated regulations by showing the movie without proper licensing, in which copyright law was violated.

How the licensing firm knew, the parents and school staff will never know. However, the parents do know one thing, and they are upset. One parent pointed out that particular legislation from 1979, “Provision 13,” put property taxes on land. Today, Disney is STILL paying the same taxes from the time of that legislation, and not current values of today! Seem unfair?

And so, a smaller elementary school in a struggling part of Berkeley, California bears the fine of $250, yet Disney walks away with the easier tax value payments for its land. The next time you are considering a late-night movie showing at your educational institution, make sure you are covered on any legalities as you do not own the film and may need licensing. Rather be safe than paying.

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