Public school plays "The Lion King" to raise funds, Disney hits it with a bill for one-third of proceeds

The argument form:

Person A: What about this obviously bad proposal for change.
Person B: Sure, let’s do that.
Person A: Aha! But that’s bad!

Does not lead to the conclusion that good change is impossible.

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I can’t say that I have anything good to say about that corporation, but I think it’s important to note that copyright laws also protect those of us creators here (and elsewhere, too) who draw and write and make things.

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Every creator should have a 95 year plan.

That we all have a general idea that it’s not right to copy from other people is protecting small content creators. That most people aren’t brazen enough to flat-out rip someone off and pretend they didn’t is protecting small content creators.

The actual law? I’m a lot less sure of that.

Mostly copyright law seems to create a justification for things like youtube’s copyright strikes which basically let scam artists run extortion rackets on anyone who isn’t big enough to have a legal team. I know people who are choosing not to make or share art because of copyright laws. I don’t know anyone who has ever said to me, “I wouldn’t be making this art but for copyright laws.”


In my experience, there definitely are people brazen/uninformed enough to flat-out rip off other people’s content. The entire “about us” page for my company’s web site was stolen and used as is, if you can believe that, for a competitor’s web site. Because there are laws, we could write to them and say take that down or else, as opposed to pretty please don’t use what we wrote if you would be so kind. Makes a difference.

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Of course. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Screenshot_2020-02-04 Public school plays The Lion King to raise funds,Disney hits it with a bill for one-third of proceeds
(posted by @someguy)


I dunno, the wildebeest stampede in the last production of Hamlet that I saw was pretty badass.


I’m glad they have worked for you. Like I said, I know people they are getting in the way of. I don’t think copyright as conceived of way back when has aged well into our times. I think we need a bigger, more well-thought-out overhaul. I don’t think it should simply be legal for anyone to use anything any way they want, but I also don’t think the incident this thread is about speaks well for the current system.

20th Century Fox was far cooler about the student production of Alien


Those were German tourists.


That big Blue Screen at the beginning of literally every DVD (and, back in the day, VHS) with the FBI Seal, and accompanying warning about what you cannot do with the purchased movie says it all. If the school had done a bit of research, they would have learned that you need to get a license to screen any movie publicly. That license would have cost, maybe $20. How did Disney find out about this? Obviously someone posted something on line. While Disney has every right to pursue the school for the money, maybe their lawyers could work something out with the school where they ‘donate’ back the funds to the school? That way, everyone wins. Disney gets their money and Disney donates it back to the school. The school learns a lesson on how movie licensing works, and Disney saves face. Many moons ago, I was a minister in a small church, and the same issue came up. We were using songs during the church service that were copyrighted, and, every time a song was used, the company or song writer that held the rights to the song could have come after us and sued. The license we needed cost about $75/year. There was no chance in hell we would have been sued, and I have never heard of any church being sued for copyright infringement. That wasn’t the point. The point was, doing the right thing. All these years later, now I am an Atheist, but I would do the same thing all over again.

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In the verified story I know of: the day care center was in Florida in 1989, but it is a great story.

Universal Studios and Hanna-Barbera were the Disney foils: Snopes: Disney Daycare Center Murals

Might have also happened in Southern California with a Warners Bros. reaction. I imagine Disney chasing down unlicensed likenesses at kid centers employs many full time people…

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WHERE AND WHEN?! (it’s one of my faves)



Despite positive critical reception it failed at the box office, costing $140 million to create while earning $38 million in the United States and Canada and just shy of $110 million worldwide.[1] It was nominated for the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

In a 14+14 scheme, I could see a case for nonrenewal, if the fees were high enough. But Lion King made money right out of the gate. Reup Lion King for another 14 years of monopoly rents? Yes Please!.

But we don’t live in a 14+14 year scheme, and if we did, Disney’s choices about what to make and when to make it would be different.

Moreover, Folsom v Marsh was made in the context of the 1838 law, which doubled the terms.

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That’s not enough?

Also, don’t forget “Dad’s ghost briefly pops by to nudge Junior into action.”


Oops, forgot to mention the ghost, yes.

If Simba staged a theatrical performance featuring his father’s death, and then killed his girlfriend’s father, and she subsequently went insane and died, and Simba turned up unexpectedly at her funeral, and then fought a duel with her brother – or maybe even just one of those things – that would do it for me.

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Wow. That interpretation is wrong on so many levels.

I saw a video Adam Savage did on this and he explains that the play is entirely in the realm of fair use because it was transformative, so even if Fox wanted to be assholes they would’ve lost the fight. The school did get lucky that Ridley Scott was cool with it but they were still well within their right.


Timon and Puumba are dead.


Well obviously it’s not a straight adaptation.

The Lion King = Hamlet + Kimba the White Lion, just as
A Bug’s Life = The Ant and the Grasshopper + Seven Samurai