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Californian primary school fined by Disney for watching ‘The Lion King’

Disney made nearly $70 billion in revenue last year, with an annual profit of over $12 billion, a nearly $10 billion increase in revenue from 2018.

A Californian primary school decided to show The Lion King to raise $800 for a fundraiser and ultimately had to pay a $250 license fee. Put simply, a company with a $130 billion fined a primary school $250.

An innocent attempt to raise money has cost a primary school $250. Disney made sure of it at first, then apologised after the absurdity.

It’s fair to say Disney owns a decent chunk of the film industry and money is certainly no issue. It’s also fair to say they can afford to let a primary school in California watch one of their top four most successful films at the expense of a fundraiser.

David Rose, the Parent-Teacher Association president, told CNN, “One of the dads bought the movie at Best Buy, he owned it. We literally had no idea we were breaking any rules.” 

What still isn’t known is how Movie Licensing USA discovered the screening, and more importantly, why they were alerted in the first place. In an era where digital content is stolen and illegally redistributed so frequently, it makes sense for companies to be vigilant, but there is no malicious motive at the heart of this story. If anything, it could be a great PR move for the media giant, giving back to the little guy.

This situation most certainly has a lesson at the heart of it. Other major media conglomerates should be advantageous in using their immense power and fortune for good, realising the effect their products have on these fundraising strategies and morale-boosting for small community gatherings such as that of the Emerson Elementary PTA Screening.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has not only personally apologised for the ridiculous fine but has pledged a personal donation to the school’s fundraising plan. 


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February 8, 2020