Copyright Q&A for February 2014
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.
Question: My church is planning a community Easter concert and I have no idea what copyrights we might need for that. We’d also like to post it on our website and charge for people to watch it there but I’m concerned that doing all of this might be getting us into a lot of unknown copyright issues. Can you help?
Answer: Easter is a wonderful time to share the Good News with your church and your community! With the right licensing tools in place, you can easily ensure that your in-person and online presentations of your concert are legal.
Let’s first look at the licensing that is needed to legally perform the concert music itself. Although there is a “Religious Service Exemption” in the US Copyright Law that allows churches to play or perform copyrighted music within the context of a religious service, this exemption does not apply to a community concert. Performance licensing is required for concerts.
There are two ways to get the permission you need. The simplest and most cost-effective option is to get a CCS one-stop PERFORMmusic License, which covers the over 17 million (Christian, secular, seasonal, etc.) songs in the catalogs of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for a full year. The alternative is to contact each individual song copyright owner directly, for permission and payment of royalties.
If you will be printing lyrics in bulletins or for overhead projection, you’ll need a reproduction license. The CCLI Church Copyright License is the best known of this type of license and covers the reproduction of lyrics for over 300,000 Christian songs.
For sheet music for your performers, you’ll simply need to purchase the necessary quantity of folios. If the folio is not readily available for purchase, CCS can help you obtain print rights to create the needed copies yourself through our PERMISSIONSplus Service. Hurry, if you’ll be needing our assistance, as it can take several weeks to secure licensing.
To legally stream your concert on your church website, you’ll need a streaming performance license. The CCS WORSHIPcast License allows you to stream the 17 million songs in the catalogs of ASCAP BMI and SESAC for a year - and you’re not limited to just worship services. You can stream concerts, youth events, VBS, any church event! This license also allows you to charge for viewing, with revenue limits.
Churches with an average weekly attendance of up to 5,999 people can generate annual revenue up to $13,000 and churches of 6,000 and more can generate annual revenue up to $20,000. This is a great non-profit fundraising opportunity for churches. The CCLI’s Streaming License covers 300,000 Christian songs but it is limited to streaming your church’s worship service.
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 your first-time purchase of the PERFORMmusic and WORSHIPcast Licenses and the PERMISSIONSplus Service.
Subscribe to Our Mailing List
Subscribe to our mailing list for exclusive deals and news! You'll receive one email a week, with an occasional two a week. You may unsubscribe at any time.