Copyright: reproducing hymn & song words, music and audio/video

Author: Geoff Freeman

Published on: 10 March 2016

Keeping on the right side of the law: Following on from previous articles on understanding the law in terms of running lotteries (raffl es), sale of alcohol, etc., we now move onto the area of copyright and the law.

With the ability to copy or reproduce written matter not only easily but very cheaply comes the responsibility on the individual or the PCC to ensure that they are not infringing copyright and that they are complying with the law.

So, if you do any of the above you need to check that your parish holds the correct license to do these acts, pays the fee and more importantly report annually the works used.

Sounds complicated? Don’t worry Christian Copyright Licensing International Ltd (CCLI) are a specialist organisation who take care of matters for you.

Most churches will have already signed with CCLI who will take care of the legal stuff and issue your parish with a licence.

The CCL permits your church to do the following:

  • Reproduce, by means of projecting, typing, printing or hand-writing, the words of authorised hymns and worship songs onto screens, service sheets, handouts and OHP acetates etc. for your congregation
  • Under the words of each song reproduced you must include the following: [author], © [year, owner], [your licence number] e.g. Fred Smiley, © 2013 Happy Music Ltd., CCL No. 123456
  • Make customised instrumental arrangements of authorised music compositions, where no published arrangement is available. All aspects of the music, apart from the instrumentation, must remain unchanged.
  • Recording audio/video of your services, including any live music, for non-commercial purposes. You may charge up to £2.50 for cassettes/CDs and £5.00 for videos/DVDs to defray expenses incurred. The number of copies must not exceed 25% of your licence size category, for example, for Category B you may make a maximum of 24 copies.

Seems complicated but they do have very good and experienced people in their call center who will advise and help you.

The CCL does not permit you to record:

  • Copyrighted service words, for example readings from the Book of Common Prayer.
  • Sound recordings played during Acts of Worship (e.g. regular Sunday services) since this equates to dubbing.

There are other licenses that may apply to you so it pays to look and check what you may require.

For the most up to date information look at the link below:

The author...

No Image Found

Geoff Freeman

Parish Funding Support Officer

This article is from...

Articles in this issue...

My view: Benefice Support Meetings

Each year Benefi ce Support Meetings take place which are an opportunity for benefices to meet with the Diocese and discuss their financial position.


Church insurance: is there a better way?

Parishes will be well aware that the cost of insurance is often one of the highest areas of expenditure and in recent years the increasing cost has become a source of concern for many.


Building for the future in Gorleston

Those who live in the east of the Diocese and travel through Gorleston have seen the magnificent church of St Andrew’s towering above the other buildings.


Take another look at your energy tariff

In recent months, the price of crude oil has fallen from the heady heights of $130 a barrel to less than $30.


The key to opening your church building

Churches can be a benefit for the whole community and not just for those who attend worship on a Sunday.


Health and Safety in churchyards – practical guidance

A Parochial Church Council is responsible legally for the care and maintenance of their churchyard(s) and this requirement extends to the safety of the churchyard and, in particular, memorials.


The egg that shares the Easter story

This year The Real Easter Egg range has had a makeover and each single boxed egg includes a unique copy of the Easter story in the shape of a pull out 37cm high cross illustrated by Helen Cann.


Village cinema brings community & church together

Movies at St Mary’s’ is a village cinema organised by St Mary’s Church, Banham and The Friends of Banham Church.


Spring into action and help record churchyard wildlife

Do you like wildlife? Would you be interested in learning more about wildflowers? Could you spare a day or two in 2016 to help Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) with an exciting new wildlife project?


Keep up to date

Subscribe to our eNews for a snapshot of news, events and resources, usually emailed once a fortnight

Signup to newsletter