How To Protect Your Church Music Department Against Copyright Infringement (Part 3 of 6): Music In Broadcast Services

“For today’s blog we welcome back Susan Fontaine , Founder and President Christian Copyright Solutions  is back with the 3rd installment in her 6-part series on protecting your church music department against copyright infringement. Today Susan covers important information all churches who are broadcasting their services needs to be aware of.  Let’s go Susan!

I love worship music. A church’s praise and worship time means so much to me so I’m always bummed out when I’m watching a worship service online or on television, and there’s that awkward transition from announcements or a public domain hymn to the scripture reading and sermon. Wait, did I miss something? Yes I did. Chances are, there were a few praise songs or a great anthem that had to be unceremoniously chopped out of the broadcast.
Why? Because the church or the television station didn’t have permission to broadcast the performances of those songs.

When I first found a church website that replayed their entire services, including worship sets with the most up-to-date songs, my first reaction was like a third grader at the lunch table, witnessing a kid throwing his pudding pack across the table. I let out the “tattle siren”: Ummmmmmmmmmmm! Ms. Davis, Billy threw his puuuuudding! Or rather, Ummmmmmmmmmmm! BMI, First Church is illegally broadcasting your sooooooongs!
What? There’s a license you can get for that? Never mind.

It’s true that the Religious Service Exemption does not cover musical performances in a broadcasted service (even if the service is being broadcast directly from the place of worship), but churches can get an Internet performance license (often referred to as an Internet streaming license) if there are copyrighted songs included. If a church is going to have its services on TV or radio, those stations will need to have a performance license.
This was a real grey area until 2006, when a publisher named Simpleville took a radio station to court for rebroadcasting several churches’ services, including the music portion. The defendant’s argument against liability was that he could broadcast the songs because the songs had been performed during church services. The court rejected the argument, stating that the exemption applies only to performances that occur at the place of worship; it does not extend to broadcasts of those performances.

If you want to broadcast your services via the Internet, radio, or TV, don’t cut out the musical performances and rob worship-lovers like me of a great praise anthem. Just make sure your church or the station broadcasting your services is covered by the right performance license from ASPCA, BMI and SESAC.

Want to know more about copyright myths that put your church at risk? Watch this helpful video from Christian Copyright Solutions and download their free downloadable resource to worship ministers – 6 Myths About Copyrights That Put Your Church at Risk.

CCS’s quest is to help churches and Christian ministries “do music right.” CCS is an expert on church music copyrights and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches, as well as representation, administration and advocacy for copyright owners.

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13 Responses to How To Protect Your Church Music Department Against Copyright Infringement (Part 3 of 6): Music In Broadcast Services

  1. は実際に人々がブランドの新しいオンラインしっかり顔を開始する多くの課題の一つは、彼らのネットサイトへの訪問者を得ることにあります。こんにちは

  2. 、私はしばらくの間、このことについて考えてきました。このテンプレートを作った方法

  3. Pingback: How To Protect Your <b>Church Music</b> Department Against Copyright <b>…</b> | Worship Leaders

  4. Pingback: How To Protect Your Church <b>Music</b> Department Against Copyright <b>…</b> | Church Ministry

  5. Alyce Harris says:

    It does make sense, and it is good information to have. I just know this is going to come in handy real soon!

  6. Tiffany Hayes says:

    It does make sense now when I see the television broadcasts go right into the sermon. Very valuable information for all churches and organizations to be aware of. I’ll be sure to pass this along.

  7. Tiffany Hayes says:

    This is very good to know. It does make sense now when I see the television broadcasts go right into the sermon. I’ll be sure to pass this along.

  8. Stephanie D. Etienne says:

    Very informative!! This is true. I’ve heard my pastors sermon’s on the radio but the song service would be eliminated.. in order to obtain these licenses, is it costly?

  9. Lakia Johnson says:

    My old church did a lot of productions and although it was written by someone in the church the musical selections belonged to other artists. When asked if we could get a copy of the production as part of the cast we were advised that they would not be able to for this very reason. It’s necessary we have training on this type of behind the scenes details because we always want to make sure that God’s house is working decently and in order.

  10. Alisa Williams says:

    Wow! You learn something new every day. When our church is on the air, they only show the sermon and now I know why

  11. Tiffany says:

    I never knew this hmmm good to know!

  12. Demetria says:

    I’m going to forward this info to my Pastor and worship leader. We aren’t streaming live yet, but have plans to in the future. It would be great if worship does not have to be cut out because the licenses weren’t in place.

    Thanks Susan for the wonderful information. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

  13. Kim Robinson says:

    Ohhhh…. it all makes sense now. Does this apply to local public access channels also? Because if it does,then there’s a lot of housecleaning to do….

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