Copyright Compliance

Copyright Compliance

Copyright compliance is a major area of responsibility and concern for most church music and creative arts leaders who use copyrighted materials. Obtaining the proper licenses for compliance can often be a confusing, difficult and time-consuming process.

The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon has partnered with CopyrightSolver by Christian Copyright Solutions (CCS), to help with your copyright compliance. Anytime you have specific copyright questions you can call their hotline number at 1-855-576-5837 to speak directly with a Copyright Solver.

U.S Copyright law (section 110[3]) states that churches (along with any religious organization) do not have to get permission to perform or play music (or a non-dramatic literary work) during a religious service at a place of worship or other religious assembly. (NOTE: This does not include the right to reprint song lyrics.) Beyond the exemption, they must secure licensing for ANY use of ANY copyrighted works in most cases.

To obtain permissions, churches can either go directly to each copyright holder each time a copyrighted work is used, or they can purchase a blanket license. Blanket licenses allow churches to use a specific catalog of copyrights for specific activities for one year. Several blanket licenses are available for different uses. One license does not cover all of a church’s copyright activity. For example, the CCLI, CVLI, PERFORMmusic and WORSHIPcast licenses each offer different coverage in different areas of compliance.

Many churches mistakenly believe that if they have one license, they are covered. This is rarely the case. Churches need to look at their specific uses of copyrighted material and make sure they are compliant in each area. Most churches require a “mosaic” of blanket license coverage.

To learn more or to ask specific copyright compliance questions, please visit the Diocese of Oregon landing page at call CopyrightSolver at 1-855-576-5837.

Copyright Solver has many documents online at the above link. On the right-hand side of the page, under “Related Documents & Resources,” you will find a link to the “Fact Sheet Library.” You will find what you need there.