Disney CEO will donate to the public school hit with a licensing fee for "illegally" screening The Lion King

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/07/disney-ceo-will-donate-to-the.html


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Why is “illegally” in quotes?


If they watched the live action reboot and not the original animated version, Disney should have paid THEM to watch it.


Probably because there is an allegation the school violated copyright that was never tested in a court. That is, someone claimed it was an illegal screening and the headline writer is repeating that claim (hence the quotation) rather than making that claim.


I get that it’s bad PR, but charging money for a public presentation of a home video release is a no-brainer violation. It’s literally on the FBI warning they make you watch before the movie!


How does giving them a donation as an apology for cracking down NOT set a precedent? Any other school could screen a Disney movie and ask why Disney isn’t reimbursing them when they have to pay their fine. Trying to have it both ways like this just makes Disney look like they don’t know what they’re doing and have no consistent plan for how to handle this sort of situation.

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The day Movie Licensing USA sent notice to the Emerson P.T.A., Ms. Droste reflected on Proposition 13, a 1978 voter initiative in California that critics say has made it difficult for public school districts to obtain proper funding.
“Who wants to hear an unbelievable story about how Disney is essentially fining Berkeley’s Emerson Elementary School PTA $250 while reaping millions of dollars through a corporate loophole that has decimated public schools across California?” Ms. Droste wrote.
“The fundamental message is this,” she added. “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.”

repeal prop #13!

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I feel like I’ve gone from Microserf to Nanopeasant in the past three years.

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Sorry but not sorry is not an apology.

Under current copyright law, Disney’s actions were quite correct and actually lenient. They were not licensed to sell tickets to that movie, nor to display the movie. I feel like to a Disney lawyer, $250 was basically a small token amount that they were asking for to make the transaction look legit after the fact.

Don’t like it? Blame Sonny Bono and change the law. That is the real remedy here, and is why Disney is letting this one go and donating money to them. They don’t want you to get mad and demand a law change.

Disney was instrumental in extending the length of copyright due to Mickey Mouse about to enter the public domain.
In the last quarter of 2019 Disney made 20 billion dollars. 20 billion dollars is more than enough to rebuild every school in America.
Only an American would go to bat for a gazillion dollar company over 10 year olds. USA USA USA!

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Our company @WaltDisneyCo apologizes to the Emerson Elementary School PTA and I will personally donate to their fund raising initiative.

Seems like a good apology. I don’t see a “not sorry” part.

Also, from https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2020-02-07/disney-pta-licensing-lion-king:

However, a Movie Licensing USA representative told The Times on Friday that Disney had instructed the company early this week not to pursue the fee in this situation.

Good result for the school.

Welcome to BoingBoing, new comrade.

We Americans are not monolithic, btw; this American detests Disney, and strives to avoid giving them my money willingly.


The part where they keep their formal policy that what was done was illegal.

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Somehow I think suggesting a massive change in copyright law to reverse the changes paid for by Disney is not exactly going to bat for Disney. Just saying…

I do think they apologized and I do think that giving more money than they took is a way to make amends, but I agree that the deeper problem here is Disney wants to be the arbiter of how these things play out. We all* agree that a school showing a movie for a fundraiser is basically fine, but lawmakers won’t write a law that reflects that. What suits Disney and other big copyright holders is if the law says basically everything is illegal but Disney gets to exercise their judgement about when to enforce the law.

It should be the legislature plus the interpretation by the courts that sets out what is okay in a Democracy, not Disney. Disney really screwed this one up, and hopefully that builds some momentum to take away their right to be the ones who make this decision.

* Definitely not all, see previous thread on this

Overall your post was certainly not going to bat for Disney. The first sentence certainly read like it was. And people certainly have a tendency to give up on a post after reading a first sentence that makes them roll their eyes. Add a “the biggest problem here is the law” as the first sentence and the chance for misunderstanding is greatly reduced. I think it’s necessary in print because people can’t hear the “but” coming.

(I realize that reading this I may come across as a person who thinks they are a highschool English teacher to the world. If I do come across as a self-righteous dick that’s definitely my bad.)


I never said nor even implied that you were; maybe you ought to take your issue up with the person who actually made the assumption, rather than the person who challenged it.


This is one of those weird “the etiquette of the internet is still undecided things”.

Since you had already replied to him, there was kind of a sub-thread regarding that discussion. I wanted to ensure that I did not appear in any way to be disregarding your viewpoint and contribution to that sub-thread so I responded to the newest reply (yours), even though I was more directly responding to his post. I value your opinions and contributions and did not want to slight you. I wanted to make it clear that I was adding to that sub-thread, inclusive of your viewpoints.

But I know that a lot of people view it differently, and the etiquette around this matter is still very much in development; and that there is a strong school of thought that replying directly to the person in question is also very much acceptable; even in (or perhaps especially in) unthreaded comment sections like this.

My apologies if I offended.

Also @Humbabella; thank you; it is good to have feedback on this. :slight_smile:

There was?

No offense taken, I was just confused because you were addressing points that I didn’t make.

This is why the quote tool is often so useful.

No harm, no foul.