When talking to churches about licensing, one of the questions we’re often asked is, “Why do we need another license?” It’s almost always followed by, “We have a license with CCLI, so we’re already covered.” The difference between a performance license (onsite and streaming) and a reproduction (or copying) license is by far one of THE most confusing issues facing churches.
While the Religious Service Exemption allows churches to play and perform music in their regular place of worship, that exemption does not extend to recording/copying a musical work OR playing/performing music outside of a service, including streaming. One of the most powerful allies you can have when using copyrighted works is a blanket license. There are several available that meet the needs of churches and ministries and allow churches to use a catalog of copyrighted works for one fee. Let’s take a closer look at those offered by both CCLI and CCS.
As mentioned above the RSE does not include “reproducing, such as a recording, or copying of a music work.” That is where the CCLI Copyright License is vital. With this reproduction license your church can make copies of more than 300,000 Christian songs to assist with congregational singing, and may be used as follows:
- Copy songs from hymnals, websites, chorus books and similar types of publications
- Print songs in bulletins, liturgies, programs, song sheets, songbooks compiled by your church, overhead transparencies, and slides
- Electronically store, retrieve and utilize song files in computers, presentation software, and similar resources to enable the visual projection of songs
- Record songs in your live worship services, including meditations, preludes, postludes, interludes, fanfares, and handbell, vocal and instrumental specials, by either audio or audio-visual mean (see complete details here)
When you play or perform music outside of your religious service, your church or organization will require a performance license, just like any other business or organization. There are two different performance licenses to cover music.
CCS’s PERFORMmusic Facilities License allows your church to play and perform more than 25 million songs anywhere in your facilities or satellite campuses, even traveling with your church to offsite events. The uses are many, so we’ve outlined a few here:
- Add ambiance with background music at your onsite facilities on-hold music or cafes and bookstores
- Use live or pre-recorded music at social or outreach events such as church festivals, receptions, retreats, and dances
- Incorporate music during adult and children’s ministry programs like VBS, small groups, classes, camps, and youth groups
The CCS WORSHIPcast Streaming License allows you to stream your performances of up these same 25 million songs on your website.
Ensuring your church has the right licensing in place is crucial, and blanket licenses make it simple. Still unclear? We encourage you to take this 5-minute Copyright Quiz. Upon completion, you will receive a detailed report and straightforward solutions.
About Christian Copyright Solutions: CCS’s quest is to help churches and Christian ministries “do music right.” CCS is an expert on church music copyrights and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches. Follow us onTwitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.