Elementary School Fined By Disney For Playing “Lion King” For Students Without Permission

February 5, 2020

Getty Images


Disney is incredibly adamant about showings of their films.

Any time one of their movies is shown outside of a home, it is considered a “public screening,” and must get permission from Disney itself in order to show it.  And yes, that apparently means even elementary schools.

At a recent PTA “parent’s night out” fundraiser at Emerson Elementary school in Berkeley, California, one of the dads popped in the live-action version of The Lion King, just to give the kids presents something to do.  Unfortunately, this “public screening” wasn’t given the go-ahead by Disney, and they found out.  Now, they want the Dad’s Club, PTA, and Emerson Elementary to pay.

Five months after the fact, the school received a letter from SWANK Movie Licensing USA, which enforces Disney’s cinematic copyrights.  The letter demanded $250 from the school for playing the film without a license.

You can bet plenty of parents aren’t too happy about that, especially considering where that money would be going: helping pay for teachers and services at the school.

Emerson parent and Berkeley City Council member Lori Droste said, “Here you have a company that makes so much money and we have schools that are struggling so much.  What I thought about was just the irony of having a multi-billion dollar company essentially ask a school to pay up.”

At this point, it is unknown how Disney found out the movie was being played at the school, and with no other options, PTA president David Rose says they will pay the fee, and hope that amount can be recouped through donations.  “The event made $800, so if we have to fork over a third of it to Disney, so be it. You know, lesson learned,” he said.

Via Fox 8