Every Church Needs a Copyright Cop

Posted on May 19, 2009

The IT Director of a church client, in south Florida, is not alone in sarcastically calling himself the “Copyright Nazi,” the man who says “NO” because he is the man in the KNOW about copyright issues. He absorbs knowledge about copyright law knowing that illegal use of copyrighted material violates the 8th commandment about stealing and has a diminishing economic impact for the copyright holder! The nature of his calling as a compliance officer generally reduces the number of fellow church staff that the “Copyright Cop” can call friends but this role is VITAL! Today’s electronic environment affords countless opportunities for seemingly “free” use of copyrighted material. Invariably, a review of the Terms of Service, or Terms of Use, indicates otherwise, often citing copyright law to negate the euphoria that “free” implies any and all usage.

The good news? Churches know their moral obligation to honor those who produce copyrighted material. Honoring copyrights is a great opportunity for churches to "shine their light" to the world and present a model of righteousness in daily actions to the next generation. Though churches KNOW the importance of commitment to copyright compliance, many don’t know HOW to comply, often under the mistaken belief that a blanket license covers any and all uses of copyrighted material.

Education about copyright compliance should rest deep within the heart and soul of every church staff member involved with the use of copyrighted material. Once accomplished, the role of “Copyright Cop/Copyright Nazi” will pass the way of 8-track recordings!

There are many websites and resources that can help in the arduous task of educating all church staff members (;;;; Christian Copyright Solutions presents monthly online educational webinars on a variety  of copyright topics impacting churches and ministries.  

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