The world of copyright and licensing can be a bit tough to navigate at times. Our friends at CCLI offer some great tools and resources. These cover a wide breadth of the intellectual property activity that occurs in the planning and execution of worship services. Sometimes it can be confusing as to which license is best for your needs. Below is a description for each license and when you would need that specific license.
The Church Copyright License is a contractual agreement with songwriters and publishers from around the world. For an annual license fee, a church receives legal authorization to copy from over 300,000 songs for congregational use. This is the foundational license offered by CCLI. Below is a simplified version of the Church Copyright License:
What You Can Do
- Print songs, hymns and lyrics in bulletins, programs, liturgies and songsheets for use in congregational singing.
- Create your own customized songbooks or hymnals for use in congregational singing.
- Create overhead transparencies, slides or use any other format whereby song lyrics are visually projected (such as computer graphics and projection) for use in congregational singing.
- Arrange, print and copy your own arrangements (vocal and instrumental) of songs used for congregational singing, where no published version is available.
- Record your worship services (audio or video) provided you only record live music. Accompaniment tracks cannot be reproduced. You may charge up to $4 each for audiocassette tapes and CDs, and $12 each for videotapes and DVDs.
What You Cannot Do
- Photocopy or duplicate octavos, cantatas, musicals, handbell music, keyboard arrangements, vocal scores, orchestrations or other instrumental works.
- Translate songs into another language. This can only be done with the approval of the respective publisher.
- Rent, sell or lend copies made under the license to groups outside the church or to other churches. (It is OK to distribute recordings to shut-ins, missionaries or others outside the church.)
- Assign or transfer the license to another church or group without CCLI’s approval.
Over the past 2 years, thousands of churches have begun to use the Church Rehearsal License from CCLI. The license allows worship leaders and church music directors to legally copy commercial audio recordings and/or share audio files via email, flash drives or on worship planning websites. The copies are intended for rehearsal purposes only, and are not intended to remain as permanent copies for personal collections. Pricing is based on the number of copies made and/or the number of songs shared. This revolutionary resource is a must-have in your worship planning toolbox. It gives you the freedom to distribute music to your team for rehearsal in the way that best fits your ministry.
The Church Streaming & Podcast License
The CCLI Church Streaming & Podcast License allows you to stream or podcast your live-recorded worship service music on your church’s website or other streaming services. So you can now include your music along with the Pastor’s message as you webcast your church service. Most churches can take advantage of this service for $100 or less per year.