Is Watching The New Listening?

Posted on March 16, 2011

Is Watching the New Listening?

A report published by Nielsen and Midem has reinforced the role of YouTube as a key platform for music consumption. The survey of more than 26,000 people found that more than 60% said they had watched music videos on a computer, versus less than 20% who had legally downloaded music. Meanwhile, 36% stream music to their PC, 35% access it via social networking sites, 21% stream music to their phones, and 23% watch videos on their handsets.

Church creative arts and worship leaders are right in step with these survey trends and have been finding innovative ways to incorporate the visual into their services. They understand the power of visual media to engage all the senses for an enriched worship experience. Hearing the music may be enough for some, but many congregations are finding that technological paintbrushes create a canvas that expands and enlightens their times of worship. Whether creating your own visual material or using products from folks like Worship House, Igniter Media, WorshipVue, Media Shout, or SermonSpice, there may be numerous creative works integrated in visual material, such as music, sound recordings, photographs, paintings, and film.

PraiseChart’s WorshipVue is a new website that provides downloadable visual worship media for churches, including videos. sermon illustrations, worship openers, motion backgrounds, countdowns, and still images. It will connect songs from PraiseCharts with visuals from WorshipVue, so you can see related visuals from WorshipVue and vice versa.  

If watching is the new listening, then there are numerous copyright issues to keep in mind when moving from strictly audio to visual formats of creative worship expressions.  

Here are seven practical tips that can help you avoid inadvertent copyright infringement when producing an audiovisual project:

  1. Learn and understand Copyright Law basics and what works can be copyrighted; literary works, visuals images, drama, audiovisual, etc.
  2. Identify all the copyrighted content in your audiovisual material. Make a list of every component in your audiovisual project and include copyright owner contact information.
  3. Request and obtain permission and licenses from the copyright owners prior to production of your audiovisual material. Some minimum fees can be very high, and you may want to delete material from your project to minimize your expenses; e.g., some video companies charge as much as $1000 per “second” of video footage. You may want to have a professional obtain your licenses.  
  4. Never include copyright content in your project if you have not obtained permission. Copyright infringement can be very embarrassing and fines can be extremely costly.
  5. Read and understand the terms and conditions of content that you have purchased. For example, some media libraries may allow you to use their material in video productions, but they may not allow you to stream your videos online.
  6. Make sure you have consent and release forms signed by any individuals appearing in your audiovisual project.
  7. Utilize blanket licenses where applicable. For example, the WORSHIPcast license allows you to webcast your church’s performances of more than 16 million songs--Christian and secular--on your website, and CCLI’s new Church Streaming/Podcasting License covers 200,000 Christian songs.   

Sign up for our free webinar on “Copyrighted Content in Your Videos” on Thursday, March 24.