Copyright Q&A for June 2013
Here is a question we received for our monthly Copyright Q&A feature. Answers are provided by Christian Copyright Solutions. Feel free to submit your questions to us. We answer as many as we can here on our site once a month.
I want to take care of my church’s copyright issues but I really have no idea where to begin. I know we need a CCLI license—we have that. But now I’m hearing we need a special performing license. Once we get that, are we covered? Or are there other licenses I need to be concerned about, too?
Church copyright compliance can be a confusing issue, so you’re not alone in wondering where to begin to make sure your church is covered.
Once church leaders understand they need to be compliant and address copyright licensing, they often don’t know where to turn. Which songs need licensing? What content (besides songs) need licenses? Under what circumstances is licensing needed? How are permissions obtained? What about royalties?
It can certainly be overwhelming.
Thank goodness for blanket licenses.
The best place to start is to fully utilize all the available blanket licenses that make sense for your church activities. It is a very cost-effective way to greatly simplify the compliance process. To be fully compliant, some churches will need just one blanket license. Others will require several. The key is to consider how your church uses copyrighted music and to put together the proper “mosaic” of blanket licensing that is right for you. You can download a free Church Blanket License Fact Sheet that explains what each blanket license covers and does not cover.
It’s also important to consider three things about each of these licenses:
1) What type of copyright does it cover: music, videos, sound recordings?
2) What exclusive right does it cover? The CCLI church license covers primarily reproduction rights for music, so you can make copies of lyrics, music, etc. The CCS PERFORMmusic license covers the performance rights for music so you can play or perform songs outside your religious services.
3) What catalog of copyrights are included. The CCLI License covers more than 200,000 Christian songs. The PERFORMmusic License covers 16 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC...Christian and secular.
The most foundational type of license most churches should have in place is the performance license. This is because there are so many ways churches play and perform music outside of worship. The U.S. Copyright Law allows churches to play or perform any song during worship services without licensing or royalty payments, but to play or perform copyrighted songs outside of services, performance licensing is required. CCS’s PERFORMmusic License is the only one-stop church blanket performance license available. It allows you to play and perform over 16 million songs from the catalogs of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
You also need to be sure you have reproduction license for making copies for congregational singing. Churches that print song lyrics in bulletins and for use in overhead projection, and make audio or audiovisual recordings of their worship service need this type of license. Again, blanket licensing is the best option and the CCLI License is the most widely used license of this type.
Does your church stream services and ministry activities featuring music on the internet? Then you’ll need an internet performance license. There are two blanket licenses available for this. CCS’s WORSHIPcast License allows you to stream over 16 million songs and allows you to stream services and other events. The CCLI Church Streaming license allows you to stream 200,000 songs from the CCLI catalog that you have performed in your worship service.
Once you have all the blanket licenses in place, you will have broad copyright coverage without having to obtain individual licenses for use of each copyright. If you want to use copyrights outside the scope of these licenses, such recording a song on a CD, synchronizing a song to a video, creating a new arrangement, etc., you must contact each individual copyright owner for their permission, and to pay them royalties. If you don’t want to tackle this on your own, CCS’s PERMISSIONSplus Service allows you to turn the project over to copyright professionals, which greatly simplifies the process.
The Christian Copyright Solutions answers provided are information, not legal advice. For more information and resources, including fact sheets, videos and idea kits, visit www.christiancopyrightsolutions.com. Use promo code “ABOUTWORSHIP” to receive 10% off the PERFORMmusic and WORSHIPcast Licenses and the PERMISSIONSplus Service.Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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