How To Protect Your Church’s Music Department Against Copyright Infringement (part 6 of 6) Copyrights and Royalties

Today Susan Fontaine , Founder and President Christian Copyright Solutions wraps up her 6-part series on protecting your church music department against copyright infringement. This has been really educational and we’ve all learned so much! I’d like to thank Susan and Christian Copyright Solutions for taking the time to do this wonderful series for my readers. Take it away Susan!
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They say money can’t buy happiness. But paying professionals to take care of intimidating tasks that would make you very unhappy is pretty much the same thing. I pay an accountant to do my family’s taxes every year. I might be able to figure out how to do it myself, but the time I would spend doing it, not to mention the stress and frustration, would be significant. The accountant doesn’t deliver a manila envelope of happiness along with that tax return, but the freedom from anxiety and extra time to spend with my family is well worth the reasonable price.

When it comes to keeping your church’s music use legal, the same logic applies. You want to do the right thing, but if there’s anything more intimidating than the complex clergy tax code, it might be navigating the world of music copyrights and royalties. You don’t need to panic. Christian Copyright Solutions (www.Christiancopyrightsolutions.com) makes it easy and affordable to get the license you need. CCS offers two blanket one-stop licenses that cover all 16 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, including all genres of Christian and secular songs.

The PERFORMmusic License provides churches and ministries with a license for the performance of live and pre-recorded music in their facilities, including satellite campuses. With a sliding scale to keep costs low even for small churches, the PERFORMmusic License starts at $199 per year.

If you want to live stream or archive your complete worship services online, the WORSHIPcast license covers webcasting of that same enormous catalog of music. The sliding scale starts at just $500 per year, enabling churches to maximize their global, online outreach for less than it costs to produce and ship one glossy mailing to their community!

The experts at CCS can save you money, time, and a lot of headaches. That may not be a box of happiness on your doorstep, but it’s pretty close.

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.

How To Protect Your Music Department Against Copyright Infringement (part 5 of 6): Music Outside Your Church Walls

Today Susan Fontaine , Founder and President Christian Copyright Solutions  is back for her 5th installment in the 6-part series on protecting your church music department against copyright infringement. There are basically 2 places your music department will perform music; inside the church and outside the church. Today Susan explains how to keep everything legal no matter where you are. Susan!
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Some churches are more musical than others in their worship. For some, Sunday morning is like a free visit to the symphony, with impressive choral renderings and a full orchestra. Some do a lot with a five-part praise band. Some love a simple piano accompaniment, and some sing a cappella. Whether you keep it simple or have to offer earplugs at the door, the religious service exemption to U.S. copyright law covers your musical performance in worship.

Churches vary in their use of music outside of worship as well. At the church I grew up in, music was part of practically every gathering. Our youth group regularly had talent shows, sing-alongs, and concerts. The annual craft bazaar wouldn’t have been complete without Christmas music playing in the background, and my fellow voice students and I had our recitals in the sanctuary. Contrast that with my current church, at which lively conversation and the shrieks of children provide soundtrack enough for any gathering. But even at this comparatively less-musical church, we have wedding receptions in the fellowship hall and a day care that often plays music for the children.

It’s a common mistake for church leaders to assume that any music they might be using is covered by the religious service exemption. When they learn that the exemption only applies to music performed in worship services, often their immediate response is, “We don’t play any music outside of services.”

You might not play much, but you probably do more than you think.

Do you use on-hold music for your phone system? Host choir concerts? Play background music during your fall festival? Have an annual talent show? Offer exercise or dance classes? Take retreats and sing around the campfire? Hold weddings or funerals in your sanctuary?

Chances are, you are using music outside of worship services, and if so, you need a performance license to keep it legal and musically-enhance your events and activities with integrity.

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.

How To Protect Your Church Music Department Against Copyright Infringement (Part 4 or 6): What the CCLI License Covers

Today Susan Fontaine , Founder and President Christian Copyright Solutions  is back for her 4th installment in the 6-part series on protecting your church music department against copyright infringement. Today Susan explains the CCLI Licence and what it covers. CCLI stands for Christian Copyright Licence international. Susan breaks down what the licence covers as well as dispelling some common myths. Go for it Susan!
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Do you ever grow increasingly uneasy the more times a chorus is repeated at the end of a worship song? You’re never quite sure if this is the last one or if it’s repeating another time or two? My home church uses a little symbol, a simplified version of the church’s logo, to indicate when the song is really, truly ending. I thought that was a brilliant idea, since otherwise, you have to rely on the worship leader’s sometimes-unreliable “one more time” warning or maybe the appearance of the song’s copyright and CCLI info, since those lines of tiny type are included on what is, presumably, the last slide of the song.

Unless you’re experienced with copyrights, your main familiarity with CCLI is probably in that lovely fine print at the bottom of the screen. But like the fine print on pharmaceutical ads or in a magazine’s masthead, we tend to just overlook it. Like many in the church, my guess was that CCLI gives the church the right to use the song in worship.

That’s true, to an extent, but what exactly does “use” mean, in this context? Not to parse language too much, but it actually makes a big difference—the difference between using music legally and illegally in your church.

The CCLI basic license is a reproduction license, covering the printing of copyrighted music and lyrics in bulletins or congregational songbooks, or projecting of them on screen, the CCLI license covers some very specific music uses, including the limited creation of custom arrangements for congregational singing, and limited recording of worship services onto CDs and DVDs. (For further detail of what is covered by the CCLI license, contact your CCLI representative.)

The CCLI license does not cover performance of copyrighted music. Performance of hymns and other songs in worship is covered by the Religious Service Exemption in U.S. Copyright Law. But that exemption doesn’t apply outside of a congregational worship service. Playing or performing copyrighted music during other events requires performance licensing. CCLI is a valuable resource, but don’t make the mistake of assuming it covers every way you use music in your church.

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.

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!
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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.

How To Protect Your Church Music Ministry From Copyright Infringement (part 2 of 6): Using Secular Music

“Today Susan Fontaine , Founder and President Christian Copyright Solutions  is back for her second installment in the 6-part series on protecting your church music department against copyright infringement. Susan covers the use of secular music in your worship service. I realize many churches are against this. For those that do, Susan has some great advice to share today regarding what you need to know to keep it all legal. It’s all yours Susan!
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The first time I remember hearing a secular song used in worship was at a rural church in northern Indiana. It was “Let My Love Open the Door,” by Pete Townsend, performed by a spunky blond woman from the praise band. It was a catchy and energetic way to kick off a service closing out their “Doors” series, which would invite people to walk through a large door on stage to symbolize their acceptance of Christ.

I became an instant fan of using secular music in worship, if it supported the message. I anticipated opposition to the idea from our church’s leadership, partially from a legal perspective (was a church even allowed to do that without special permission?) but mainly from a theological perspective. It can be controversial, as a lot of people feel secular music has no place in sacred worship. Granger pastor Tim Stevens makes the case for using secular music in his book, Pop Goes the Church, saying there is biblical precedent and gospel imperative for churches to leverage pop culture to reach secular people.

If you can remove the theological stumbling block for your congregation and fellow worship planners, you can rest easy knowing that the legal stumbling block has already been taken care of. As it turns out, secular music is included under the Religious Services Exemption to U.S. copyright law, stating that churches do not need a performance license to play live or pre-recorded versions of any kind of music (sacred or secular) in the context of regular worship services. The only exception in the exemption is “dramatico-musical” works (operas and plays) of a secular nature. These are not exempt and would require licensing.

It’s important to note that this exemption only applies to playing or performing music, and does not extend to reproducing music in any form, such as making an audio or video recording of music in your service, or making copies of song lyrics.

The morning after that service at Granger, I heard Pete Townshend’s song again on a pop radio station, and I was immediately reminded of the service’s message. To this day, I remember that Christian message whenever I hear the song. That’s the power of using pop songs in worship, and there’s no law to keep you from embracing it.

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.

How To Protect Your Church’s Music Department Against Copyright Infringement (part 1 of 6)

“Today I’m happy to introduce a new guest blogger. Her name is Susan Fontaine , Founder and President Christian Copyright Solutions  Susan is an educator and long-time member of the Christian arts community with 28 years of experience in the Christian media industry, church copyright administration and copyright management.

Today’s post is the first of a 6-part series Susan will be doing for us on copyright laws your church music ministry needs to know about.  Don’t forget to download the free report at the bottom of the post for a chance to win one of 3 I-pad Minis.

Take it away Susan!

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The July 4th holiday is always a good time to give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. The First Amendment, which includes freedom of religion, is particularly precious in its guarantee that we can practice our faith without fear of persecution. But just as the Second Amendment doesn’t cover everything a church might want to do (e.g. trespass into a farmer’s vineyard and trample his crop for freshly-squeezed Communion juice) the Religious Services Exemption to U.S. copyright law doesn’t cover every instance of musical performance a church might have.

The religious service exemption applies only to actual religious services. All other performances—the youth events, social gatherings, retreat sing-a-long, even the music played over the loudspeakers at fall festival—require a performance license. Unless the performance is in the context of services, churches have the same copyright responsibilities as a restaurant, business, or stadium, whether you’re singing live or just playing a recording for a group of people.

It might seem funny to call the background music played during your event or the on-hold music for the office phone a “performance,” but just because you’re not standing on a stage and charging admission doesn’t mean it’s not a performance. The legal definition, in this case, is: an instance of music being performed “in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.”

Most uses of music in a church context fit those criteria, being open to the public and/or a substantial gathering beyond a nuclear family and its guests. (Churches may talk about themselves as a family, but the U.S. government doesn’t see it that way!) So when you seek to be a 7-days-a-week church, growing disciples through teaching and fellowship, and reaching out through community events, remember that freedom often comes with boundaries, and that is the case with church music performance.

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.