A day-care center's practice of showing children's favorite videos on "movie day" has brought a warning from Hollywood: Pay a licensing fee, or we'll see you in court.
The Motion Picture Licensing Corp. told Tim Norris last week that the movie showings at his suburban Harrisburg center violate copyright law and could result in fines. Norris shows movies brought in by children."I was just totally blown away," Norris said.
Rubin Ferziger, general counsel for the licensing organization, said the law requires the payment of a fee to the holder of the copyright of a video shown publicly.
Based on the number of children attending his programs, Norris estimated his annual license would cost $1,500 to $2,000.
"That's just to allow children to show a video they've already purchased," he said. "It's one more way to gouge the public."
The U.S. Copyright Office defines "public" as performances held outside the privacy of one's home or circle of family and friends. The law classifies day-care facilities as public places.
Ferziger said videos can be shown in classrooms without a fee if the films are part of the course of instruction and not solely for entertainment.
Violators can be fined $500 to $20,000 per infraction. The law is enforced through civil suits filed by the copyright holder.
Ferziger refused to say how his organization learned about "movie day" at the day-care center, except to say, "Word does get out."
Norris said he may subscribe to the Disney Channel on cable television instead.