By: Lisa Elliott Diehl On 8/26/2010
I can't count the number of times I've gotten this question in the years I've worked as the communications director for the United Methodist Church in Kansas. Local churches call and want to know if they really need to renew their Christian Copyright LIcense, or if they really need to purchase it in the first place.
The short answer is yes. If you are going to project hymn lyrics or reprint them in a bulletin or program.
Copyright law is very clear on copying music. If you do not have express permission from the rightful owner of the song, you cannot make a copy. Christian Copyright Licensing International was established in 1988 to provide churches with simple, affordable solutions to these complex copyright issues.
The purpose of the copyright law is to promote the use of copyrights and at the same time protect the rights of the copyright owner. A copyright is an exclusive right given to an author of an original created work. It is an asset, a legal interest, protected by law. Included in the exclusive rights given to the copyright owner is the right to copy the work into any form, including in print, on screen, or on tape.
The Church Copyright License covers more than 200,000 worship songs for congregational singing. And that's the key... congregational singing. Even with the CCLI, it is still illegal to photocopy choir music.
What You Can Do
What You Cannot Do
For more information, read the full terms.
The annual fee varies based on church size. Church size is determined by the average worship attendance at your main service(s). If you have multiple services, use your combined attendance.
For more information regarding copyright laws please refer to the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov.