Does Our Church Really Need All These Licenses?

Posted on July 23, 2008

First, if you currently have these three licenses (CCLI, CVLI and WorshipCast), they do not duplicate or cover the same activities or copyrights. All three licenses cover different copyrights and activities, for which your church probably requires permissions. I find that many churches are confused about what rights the various blanket licenses cover and do not cover. To help understand what copyrights and activities are allowed with the purchase of each license, here is an outline of basic coverage for the annual church licenses currently available. 


WorshipCast License from CCA (www.churchca.com). One-Stop Church Internet Song Performance License  - Allows churches to:


  •  Webcast worship service and events featuring performances of more than 16 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC repertoires.


  •  Feature song play lists with interactive selection of streamed songs for listening (non-downloadable)


  •  Songs must be performed by your own musicians and singers, or artists/groups, who grant permission to use their recordings of the songs.


What You Can NOT Do:


  • Download MP3 or digital audio song files (or provide for download)


  • Webcast third party sound recordings or accompaniment tracks.


  • Use any copyrights other than songs on your website; e.g., videos, literary works, visual images, etc.


CCLI – Christian Copyright License International. Coverage from CCLI (www.ccli.com) -  Allows church to reproduce songs in the CCLI Song program for congregational singing in the following ways:


  • Print songs, hymns, lyrics in bulletins for congregational singing;


  • create custom songbooks for congregational singing;


  • create visual format for projection of lyrics for use in congregational singing;


  • Arrange, print and copy your own arrangements for songs used for congregational singing where no published version is available;


  • Record your worship services (provided you only record live music and do not reproduce accompaniment tracks) and sell for up to $4 each for cassette tapes and CDs and $12 each for videotapes and DVDs.


What You Can NOT Do:


  • Photocopy or duplicate octavos, cantatas, musicals, handbell music, keyboard arrangements, vocal scores, orchestrations or other instrumental works;


  • Reproduce or make practice or rehearsal trax;


  • Reproduce or copy sound recordings;


  • Make translations of songs;


  • Reproduce songs in videos or audio recordings, unless recorded live in your worship service;


  • Use songs that are not in the CCLI Song Catalog program (for example, some secular songs like “White Christmas” by IrvingBerlin.


  • Use any copyrighted material besides songs.

CVLI – Christian Video License International Coverage from CVLI  -  Allows the following: 


  • Pastors can use selected movies to illustrate sermon points; 


  • Sunday schools and Youth Groups can view the latest videos; 


  • Educational classes can show videos for teaching and training.  If movies have multiple producers, permission is needed from all copyright holders.


What You Can NOT Do:


  •  Reproduce or copy a video or film in whole or in part


  •  Synchronize any portion of a video or film to another medium


  •  Charge admission to view the movies


  •  Show videos or films on TV broadcast or on the Internet


PerformMusic License (www.churchca.com) – One-stop Onsite Church Performance License with 16 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC allows churches to play and perform songs in the following non-exempt  activities:


  • Playing music before or after a church service;


  • Non-exempt Concerts (admission charge or payment to artists/producers)


  • Music on hold for phone system;


  • Music through a speaker system in the church office;


  • Music for an aerobics/exercise class;


  • Seminars and conferences


  • Music at church functions such as a youth event, special dinner, concert, BBQ, etc.


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