Hollywood Illegally Demanded Payments From Irish Kindergarteners

from the and-this,-kids,-is-what-we-call-a-shakedown dept

It’s no secret that the entertainment industry believes that it deserves to be paid (often multiple times) every time anyone accesses, views or listens to any of its content. That’s resulted in some really bad policies that limit the potential for future growth, but also some ridiculous scenarios like the one described over at TorrentFreak, concerning the Motion Picture Licensing Company, who illegally demanded 10 euros per child (later reduced to 3 euros) from Irish kindergartens, for the right to watch DVDs in class. It turns out that the whole thing was illegal, as it violated a copyright act in Ireland by not filing for a license to collect royalty revenue (it has since filed for the license). In the meantime, the folks who run these schools are a bit annoyed by the whole thing, noting that they rarely, if ever, show DVDs anyway and don’t see why they should have to pay a fee per student. In fact, one educator noted that the only time they showed DVDs was when they would “pretend” to go to the cinema — and even that would likely lead kids to eventually want to go see more movies.

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Comments on “Hollywood Illegally Demanded Payments From Irish Kindergarteners”

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Davis Freeberg (profile) says:

Pay Fees and Innudate Them With Ads

This is particularly outrageous because most children’s programming are really covert advertisements. Not only are the kids entertained, but then they bug their parents to buy them the action figure, the video game, colouring book or whatever else the programmers decide to license their name out to. Considering that the revenues the content creators receive from these licensing deals is almost pure gross profit, it’s seems pretty weaksauce to also tax the schools for showing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

That post title seems misleading. The entertainment industry didn’t necessarily demand payment from the children, but the schools of which educate the children. It could eventually come back to money out of the pockets of the children, if you were to take the time to justify it, but really it’s from the schools. The children in this instance are more a liability, due to the fact that the school has to do a head count to ensure that the entertainment industry gets its “due pay” or whatever that means.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Thus they are taking money from the children? Hasn’t there been a bit of ink spilled on this site that cautions against jumping to such conclusions? Like when certain institutions claim that piracy (or whatever thing they hate because they can’t control it) leads to suffering and other ridiculous claims?

I certainly don’t agree with or want to defend the entertainment industry for such excuses to squeeze an extra dollar out of the consumer, but I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to post such a title, knowing full well that it’s tugging on heartstrings. Those are the kind of tactics we want to avoid, no?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wow, that’s really the dumbest conclusion you can draw. let me make it simple:

– Schools have a set budget, paid for mainly (but not totally) by taxes and donations from parents (e.g. PTA). This pays for everything the kids do during the year, from having a warm classroom to study in to the materials they use.

– Any additional licencing and/or fines from the movie industry would have to come out of this budget, leaving less money for other supplies and activities. Therefore, some other aspect of the kids’ schooling (however minor) would have to give way to pay for this. Alternatively, the taxes would need to be raised and/or higher direct contributions demanded (leaving parents with less money to provide for the childrens’ home lives).

– Therefore, something is taken from the kids. It may not be in the form of money taken directly from them, but one way or the other they would be penalised.

It’s quite simple really. Money forcibly taken from the school (or paid to lawyers to contest the charge) needs to come from somewhere. Since the sole direct beneficiaries of the school system are children, that money is taken form them in one form or another.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So it is ok to steal from movie companies in the name of children? What about sick people at hospitals; after all some of those folks aren’t going to make it out? Can you steal for the homeless shelters? Maybe the congress can relax piracy (theft) laws to allow good causes? But then who is going to define a “good cause”?

When are people going to realize movies and music are not necessities? You don’t “need” them, you “want” them so don’t watch or listen to them if you can’t afford to play by the rules. Were these movies even educational or were they just mindless entertainment to babysit the kids for 2 hours?

Lee says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

When are people going to realize movies and music are not necessities? You don’t “need” them, you “want” them so don’t watch or listen to them if you can’t afford to play by the rules.

You’re mistaken. The advertising is the result of many years of intense research by psychologists in subtly influencing people’s behaviour. Indeed, the advertising is so effective that some people do *need* the reward promised by the advertising.

When one has been so conditioned, it doesn’t seem moral to tax them as they satisfy their need. If you want it, download it for free; better still, realise that it’s all bullshit and leave it alone 😀

Mike says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

uh, watching a movie is not “stealing” in fact downloading 1000 pirated copies of every copyrighted work ever made still isn’t “stealing” its infringement and the two things are not even remotely the same. Under your way of thinking I’m “stealing” things I take photographs of as well, and “stealing” when I paint a picture of anyones property… its getting really old hearig people spout the theft of intellectual property BS, and on top of that, the ones that scream the loudest about it (MPAA) are ACTUALLY stealign the money from the artists that created it while they chastise us for it… absolute BS, I think its high time for violent action.

Anonymous Coward says:

These are kindergarten children in school watching a bloody children’s movie, maybe once in a while just for some entertainment. You have some bloody problems if you want even more money because those three houses and twelve cars you have isn’t enough so you have to stoop so low as to demand that a school pay money for every kindergartner there just so they might on occasion have some fun and watch a bloody movie.

ulle says:

Ok I have to admitt that I am lost here, the school bought a DVD (I assume the school paid money for said DVD) and all the school is doing is playing the DVD not copying, or ripping but just playing it. Why does this require additional monies and why is the school not screaming at the top of their lungs to the gov and all local media?

mobiGeek says:

Re: Re:

I’m assuming the argument will be something to do with “public performances”.

When you “buy” a plastic disc, you are only getting the plastic and a license to view whatever data is on the disc for your own PERSONAL consumption. If you invite over a bunch of people to watch, you have violated the terms of that license.

At least, that’s the way Hollywood typically sees it these days.

Nogard says:

Re: Re: Re:

How many viewers constitute an audience, according to these morons, does anyone know? If I buy a DVD and invite a friend to watch it, is that a copyright violation? How about two? And what if it’s a good part of my extended family (~10 people)?
Fucking greedy bastards…! Seriously, they make it sooo easy on my conscience to pirate their stuff with this crap.

Ben says:

And can’t you derive some educational use from a movie that is not educational in nature? Isn’t it possible that the teacher could draw conclusions from a movie even though the television isn’t spewing historical data and mathematical equations? Isn’t it POSSIBLE that these teachers were using these movies to educate? And if so, isn’t that PROTECTED?

Why is this even an issue?

Anon. says:

If you don't want to pay don't show DVDs

This licence is by no means illegal. Please see Copyright, Design and Patent Act 1988. I have this licence myself and. This is a luxury product. If this law wasn’t in place the copyright owners would lose a huge amount of revenue as rather than 100 kids (for example) each buying a DVD for their home they would only need to buy one dvd between them. An interesting fact is that the Hollywood Studios and Producers only make a profit on around half of the films they make each year, the rest makes a loss! Think of the billions of dollars paid out to make these films.
Showing films is a luxury not a neccessity, whoever you are, so the simple answer is, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO PAY FOR A LICENCE – DON’T SHOW FILMS!

Balthazar says:

Re: If you don't want to pay don't show DVDs

Perhaps you should spend a little more time reading and comprehending, and a little less time with your righteous indignation. Nobody said the license was illegal. The illegal act was demanding the fee without having filed for a license to collect the royalties. But that’s not really the problem, is it?

The problem here is the schools are being forced to pay the fee just in case they want to show a DVD. Not that they actually showed one, but just in case. Now, ask yourself (and be honest, if you possibly can), should I pay you a license fee because I might, at some time, watch or listen to something for which you hold the rights?

So fold your indignation five times and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Ben says:

@Anon –

You are right – the children would corroborate and each chip in $.30 to buy a movie rather than get it in their home. Honestly? Really? You think? If a teacher shows a movie, and a little kid (5 yrs is kindergarten age) likes it, they’ll make their parents buy it and watch it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I myself have seen Swan Lake 72 times, Home Alone at least 40, Beauty and the Beast over 100 times and every Mary Kate and Ashley Olson movie ever made.

So Hollywood is really shooting itself in the foot – these teachers are exposing these children to Hollywood’s product. If they show my kid something, I’m forced (well, coerced is a little bit better term) to go out and buy the movie (has to be the collector’s edition for $29.95 – the front cover is prettier and it has never before seen footage), the doll, the lunchbox, the cereal; we have to go to McDonalds to get the Happy Meal box with the toy, see every sequel ever made (Land Before Time anyone?), listen to the soundtrack and participate in all the radio giveaways.

But you’re right, this market doesn’t generate enough revenue. We should really be charging the school too.

In addition, this quote: “…only make a profit on around half of the films they make each year, the rest makes a loss!” really misconstrues what happens. The films that make a profit make hundreds of millions of dollars, while the loss is at best the total amount of money that they spent to make the movie (assuming not one person goes to the movie, and when have you ever heard of that?).

Basically, I’m just trying to say that you are fucking retarded Anon.

Lee says:

Re: Re:

If they show my kid something, I’m forced (well, coerced is a little bit better term) to go out and buy the movie (has to be the collector’s edition for $29.95 – the front cover is prettier and it has never before seen footage), the doll, the lunchbox, the cereal; we have to go to McDonalds to get the Happy Meal box with the toy, see every sequel ever made (Land Before Time anyone?), listen to the soundtrack and participate in all the radio giveaways.

How does it feel as you’re handing over the money, realizing that some guy, sat in his office, has effectively reached into your pocket and lifted the money out but worse, he’s done it with your child’s hand. Yet worse, your child has had their brain reorganised to satisfy someone’s marketing plan.

Please – show some parental wisdom.

PRMan (profile) says:

Tomorrow's lesson...

“Today, class, we’re going to talk about the evil movie industry. Make sure you tell your parents that you don’t want to go to movies and support evil people who treat others badly and are too greedy for their own good.”

“If your parents suggest going to the cinema, make sure you ask to do something else instead or the bad people win….”

Anon says:


So would you agree that if you made a film yourself and you were selling this film and you were already making a loss on it that you would be perfectly happy with 100 kids seeing it at their school and just paying for the one DVD?
The issue IS that it is ILLEGAL becuase if YOU spent more time reading the article as this is what I am commenting on, then you would see that it states ‘the whole thing was illegal’.
Also, schools (or in fact anywhere else for that matter) do not have to have a licence ‘in case’ they show films and they are by no means being forced. The options in terms of the LAW are:
a) Show films and pay for a licence
b) Don’t show films and don’t pay for a licence
c) Show films and pay fine in court
People know if they are playing films or not. It’s not like a film could be sneaked on without them being aware. For a start they would have to have the films to hand and the equiptment to play them on and if they are really that unsure about what happens in their own organisation I suggest it is not being run properly.
So you can shove that where the sun doesn’t shine!

Mike says:

Re: Balthazar

How about we just don’t go to the theatres, don’t buy DVD’s or CD, but instead we just download and share until the RIAA and MPAA go bankrupt, because honestly they serve no valid purpose whatsoever these days, other than to take money from the artists… this plan seems alot better than your options because A)I get things free B)The artist don’t get any of the money anyway and C) They deserve it.
I will never EVER buy ANYTHING that gives a dime to RIAA or MPAA on principal, in fact I’ll download and seed new releases even if I don’t want to watch them, just so others can get them free, because they deserve it. So go ahead and buy their crap, you and the four other people that still believe their lies.

Dream says:

Are these people not the good guys?

Can I just point out as I don’t think that this has been mentioned. It seems to me as though the people we should be angry with for this situation isn’t the Motion Picture Licensing Company but the government who has created this law. The was I see it is that this company are the good guys as without them how would schools be able to show films without breaking the law?

Mike says:

Re: Are these people not the good guys?

um, who do you think lobbies for the laws? The government didn’t come up with these IP laws on their own, they had highly organized and heavily funded lobby’s that push for laws they think will benefit their business models. They don’t care much for the public as you can see by their indiscriminate lawsuits designed to scare us into compliance. Only fear tactics can backfire, I don’t get scared, I just get angry…

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