Canada: Une soirée cinéma pour lever des fonds?

Ça y est, l'année scolaire bat son plein, et toutes sortes d'activités sont lancées pour financer les activités des élèves. Une des activités les plus populaires est la fameuse soirée de cinéma. Mais qui dit projection de film récent dit droit d'auteur. Ce n'est pas aussi simple que de projeter sur grand écran le contenu du Blu-Ray Rogue One d'un parent, comme nous l'indique Vincent-Alexandre Fournier. Bonne soirée cinéma (si vous n'êtes pas découragés par ce billet)

***

Est-ce que les établissements scolaires sont à l'abri de toute poursuite lorsqu'elles projettent des films dans leurs locaux?

Par Vincent-Alexandre Fournier

Les écoles ont-elles carte blanche lorsqu'elles projettent des films? On pourrait croire que leur vocation d'apprentissage les exempte de toute obligation de verser des redevances ou d'obtenir des permis pour un acte aussi banal que de visionner un film un vendredi après-midi ou dans le cadre d'une collecte de fonds de la fondation scolaire. Quoique les établissements d'enseignement occupent une place privilégiée dans le régime canadien du droit d'auteur et bénéficient de nombreuses exceptions à la Loi sur le droit d'auteur,1 elles demeurent soumises à certaines obligations, en particulier lorsqu'elles sortent de la sphère pédagogique.

Droit d'auteur

L'article 29.5 de la Loi sur le droit d'auteur prévoit une exception permettant aux établissements scolaires de projeter des Suvres cinématographiques, sans qu'il y ait violation du droit d'auteur. Toutefois, les conditions d'application sont assez restrictives :

  1. Projection cinématographique par un établissement d'enseignement ou une personne agissant sous l'autorité de celui-ci;
  2. Projection dans les locaux de l'école;
  3. Projection à des fins pédagogiques et non en vue de faire un profit;
  4. Auditoire composé principalement d'élèves de l'établissement, d'enseignants agissant sous l'autorité de l'établissement ou d'autres personnes qui sont directement responsables de programmes d'études pour cet établissement;
  5. L'Suvre cinématographique n'est pas un exemplaire contrefait.

Cette exception vise essentiellement les projections de films ou documentaires dans une salle de classe faites dans le but d'instruire les élèves ou les étudiants sur un sujet quelconque, tel que la Seconde Guerre mondiale ou l'interprétation d'une Suvre littéraire portée au grand écran.

Reprenons les exemples du film du vendredi après-midi et de la collecte de fonds d'une fondation scolaire. Dans les deux cas, les projections ne sont pas couvertes par une exception au droit d'auteur, car elles ont lieu à des fins non pédagogiques et même à des fins lucratives en ce qui concerne la collecte de fonds. En effet, la notion de profit est interprétée restrictivement : dès que le prix demandé excède les dépenses d'exploitation, il y a profit en vertu de l'article 29.5 de la Loi sur le droit d'auteur2. Malgré qu'une fondation soit un organisme à but non lucratif, elle peut toucher des « profits » au sens de la Loi sur le droit d'auteur.

Néanmoins, cette situation n'a pas pour effet de prohiber tout visionnement d'un film dans les écoles. Un établissement d'enseignement ou sa fondation peut obtenir une licence lui permettant de projeter des Suvres cinématographiques protégées. Pour ce faire, il n'y a qu'à consulter le répertoire des films classés de la Régie du cinéma. Ce répertoire permet de rechercher des films et d'identifier les personnes qui sont autorisées à le distribuer au Québec. Certains de ces distributeurs sont d'ailleurs spécialisés dans le milieu caritatif et scolaire; ils consentent des licences forfaitaires annuelles dont les prix, plutôt raisonnables, dépendent du nombre d'élèves de l'institution. Une telle licence permet à l'établissement de choisir les films à visionner dans un catalogue qui couvre une vaste variété de genre allant du fantastique au romantique.

La théorie c'est une chose, mais est-ce qu'il existe réellement un risque?

Oui! Le titulaire du droit d'auteur sur l'Suvre cinématographique projetée ayant le droit exclusif de l'exécuter en public (art. 3(1) Loi sur le droit d'auteur), il serait en droit de poursuivre un établissement scolaire pour obtenir des dommages-intérêts compensatoires ou la restitution des profits. Certains titulaires de droits ont par ailleurs la réputation de défendre férocement leurs intérêts, et ce, même lorsque l'impact de la violation est relativement minime.

Permis de projection cinématographique

En plus d'une licence, une demande de permis d'exploitation d'un lieu polyvalent de présentation de films en public doit être déposée à la Régie du cinéma lorsque la projection est destinée à des fins récréatives.3 Le permis est valide pour une durée de deux ans et les frais annuels oscillent entre 40 et 70$.4

Est-ce grave de ne pas avoir un permis?

Encore une fois, oui! Un contrevenant s'expose à une amende pouvant aller, s'il s'agit d'un individu, jusqu'à 1400$ et, s'il s'agit d'une personne morale (ex. une fondation), jusqu'à 2800$ (art. 92 et 178 Loi sur le cinéma5). Il va sans dire que le coût du permis est une belle police d'assurance en comparaison du montant des amendes.

***

En conclusion, les établissements d'enseignement et les fondations scolaires n'ont pas carte blanche lorsqu'ils projettent des films, malgré leur caractère non lucratif. Lorsqu'un film est présenté à des fins récréatives, une licence de droit d'auteur et un permis sont obligatoires afin de respecter la loi. Malgré ces embuches, il est possible de concilier les ressources limitées du milieu éducatif avec les intérêts de l'industrie culturelle à faibles coûts.

Footnotes

[1] LRC 1985, c C-42.

[2] Cette demande peut être faite à l'adresse suivante : (https://mcc.gouv.qc.ca/index.php?id=5954) (consulté le 13 juillet 2017).

[3] Les tarifs complets, à jour au 1er janvier 2017, sont disponibles à l'adresse suivante : (https://mcc.gouv.qc.ca/index.php?id=5951) (consulté le 13 juillet 2017).

[4] RLRQ, c C-18.1.

[5] Garabed Nahabedian et al., Canadian Copyright Act Annotated, Toronto, Thomson Reuters, 2017, s. 29.5§5.3.2.


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