An elementary school in Berkeley, California screened Disney’s 2019 remake of The Lion King during a “parents’ night out” fundraiser to keep kids occupied. Nothing out of the ordinary. But more than two months after the event, Emerson Elementary School was informed by Movie Licensing USA that they would have to shell out $250 for the illegal screening — a third of what the school earned that night.

CNN acquired a copy of the email sent to the school, which read: “Any time a movie is shown outside of the home, legal permission is needed to show it, as it is considered a Public Performance.” This means that every school must obtain a Public Performance license for a movie screening for any entertainment reason, “even in the classroom.” So every time our teachers popped on Charlotte’s Web during a rainy day, they were at risk of copyright infringement?

The faculty of Emerson Elementary wasn’t aware of the rule, and since the DVD copy of The Lion King was purchased by one of the parents, they thought they were in the clear. “We literally had no idea we were breaking any rules,” PTA president David Rose told CNNWhile no one is sure how Movie Licensing USA even became aware of the event, the PTA has agreed to pay the fine, “somewhat begrudgingly.” Neither Movie Licensing USA nor Disney responded to CNN’s request for comment.

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