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Copyright Q&A for 3/22/12

Copyright Q&A for 3/22/12

By Christian Copyright Solutions on March 22, 2012

Here are a couple of questions we received for our new Copyright Q&A feature. Answers are provided by the CopyrightSolver.com Team. Feel free to email us your questions to copyright[at]allaboutworship.com or tweet them to @allaboutworship w/ hashtag #copyright

Question: If a worship team is playing a conference at a hotel, what kind of copyright do they need?

Answer: A music performance license is required to legally perform or play music in a public place. All who participate in presenting the public performances of music are responsible for ensuring that proper copyright licensing is in  place. In most cases, the hotel will have performance licenses from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC (the three US performance rights organizations) as one of their typical and accepted costs of doing business. However, it is important to check with each individual venue before you perform; if no license is in place, you could be held liable for copyright infringement. The CopyrightSolver’s PERFOMmusic License for non-profit religious organizations covers over 16 million ASCAP, BMI and SESAC songs on an annual basis and covers your performances at facilities that your organization owns, rents or leases.

Question: Spotify has performance tracks available for some songs. Is it okay to use these in a church service setting without getting any license or permission?

Answer: When using any online music service, it is important to read and understand the Terms and Conditions to see the restrictions for use of the service’s content. Online music services likely all have a “grant of license” explaining that “You are granted a limited, non-exclusive, revocable license to make personal non-commercial use…”; essentially explaining this is for private-home use only. Spotify further clarifies the issue by providing specific restrictions of use for their users. From Spotify’s T+C:

13. Restrictions of use

• For the avoidance of doubt, you agree that you may not (without limitation):
i. copy, reproduce, “rip”, record, make available to the public or otherwise use any part of the Spotify Software Application or the Spotify Service or its content (including but not limited to tracks, images and text) in a manner not expressly permitted under this Agreement;

The use of tracks featured on Spotify during your service constitutes a public performance (referenced above as “make available to the public”). Although the Religious Service Exemption (U.S. Copyright Law  (Section 110[3]) allows the performance of musical works during your church service without licensing, it is important that the track itself is legally obtained (purchase of a properly licensed product) or is used within the rights outlined by the music service providing those tracks.

Although Spotify can be a great place to experience new songs, it’s important to purchase the performance track before using it in your church service. 

The CopyrightSolver answers provided are information, not legal advice. For more information and resources, including fact sheets, videos and idea kits, visit www.CopyrightSolver.com. Use promo code “ABOUTWORSHIP” to receive 10% off the PERFORMmusic and WORSHIPcast licenses and the PERMISSIONSplus service.

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