Homecoming theme example for all schools to follow regarding copyrighted material

Caitlyn Grcich, Managing Editor

Homecoming was September 17, and there was a lot of speculation of how it would be. According to Mr. Kevin Burgun, English teacher, preparation [was] a whirlwind. Homecoming was from 6:30pm to 9:30pm, and ticket prices were $18 for a single, $35 for a couple.

While homecoming’s theme was “Under the Sea”, students hoped to see Nemo and “The Little Mermaid’s” Sebastian, they were kept out of sight, While students hoped to see Disney in decorations or on class shirts, it just wasn’t in the cards.

Disney’s rigid rules of using their copyrighted material would have caused the price of homecoming to surge. Due to this, Disney related themes had to be avoided, and even with exceptions such as “Fair Use”, those in charge of homecoming had to proceed with caution.

However, according to Burgun and Ms. Lydia Skurka, theology teacher, “The theme “Under the Sea” was chosen because it gave us a lot to work with for decorations.  Under the Sea is a song from Disney, but it has been a popular theme outside of the movie “The Little Mermaid”.  Our theme was not Disney, but a more generic idea that encompasses a lot more.  There were no copyright issues with the theme,” Skurka said.

While there was no issue when it came to the teachers and administrators planning homecoming, there was a risk of issue within the student body. Due to the fact that the homecoming theme wasn’t explicitly Disney related, students could use Disney themes when it came to spirit week, but there was a few restrictions. Students could not explicitly use Disney items and claim that it was a total part of the homecoming theme as a whole. Disney is notorious for their fervent suing when it comes to issues of unauthorized use and copyright issues, however, the law of fair use protects students.

According to Legalzoom.com,  Disney may require an individual or organization that wants to make extended commercial use of Disney characters to enter into a licensing agreement where the user pays Disney for rights to use the character. Disney may also refuse to give you permission to use its characters.

Due to these rules in place when it comes to using Disney, it was advised to use caution when using Disney themed/related items.