Aren’t Churches Exempt from US Copyright Law?

March 1, 2016

“Aren’t churches exempt from the US Copyright Law because they are non-profit religious organizations?” We often hear that question and have to answer with a YES and NO!

There are important limitations or exceptions, often called “exemptions,” to the U.S. Copyright Law, which allow for copyrighted works to be used without a license from the copyright owner.

We provide a detailed analysis of the Religious Service Exemption and Fair Use doctrine in our FREE 56-page eBook, “Solve Puzzle of Copyrights: Six Steps to Doing Music Right,” which you can download for free. In Chapter 3, we  take a close look at the Religious Service Exemption (RSE) and the Fair Use doctrine as they relate to church and ministry activities.

You will learn what types of copyrights and exclusive rights are covered in the RSE, and what is not considered exempt. We also unpack the four key factors that judges use to rule on whether or not a copyright use is considered Fair Use. We feature attorney Brock Shinen’s excellent teaching on application of Fair Use, which provides examples of church activities that may or may not qualify for Fair Use.

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, as well as representation, administration and advocacy for copyright owners. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.

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