Building Blocks (eBook excerpt)

July 30, 2015

This is an excerpt from chapter 2 of our new eBook “Solve the Puzzle of Copyrights: Six Steps To Learning How To Do Music Right” By Susan Fontaine Godwin. You can download the eBook for free here. 

To begin, Christian leaders need to have a firm grasp on three basic building blocks:

1. What is a copyright, and what works and rights does the U.S. Copyright Law protect?

2. What are the creative works that can be copyrighted?

3. What are the exclusive rights of copyright owners and how do they impact the church’s use of copyrighted material?

These three building blocks greatly impact your understanding of what blanket licenses you need and what they cover, and when you will need to obtain individual licenses from the copyright owner.

What the U.S. Constitution says about Copyrights

U.S. Copyright Law originates in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress the power to “…promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

The Founders must have considered this fairly important as this section comes in between ones that grant Congress the right to coin money and regulate immigration and ones that grant the power to declare war and raise armies.

There are actually two important points of information in Article 1, Section 8.

First, the intent of the clause is spelled out up front – “to promote the progress of science and useful arts”. So, although many people think that copyright was created to make entertainment companies rich, it was actually created to facilitate the creation of new creative works. If there is no compensation for creating content, the volume and excellence of content created is diminished. The purpose of copyright law is to make certain that creators of artistic works are compensated for their efforts, because if they are not, fewer artistic works will be created, to the detriment of the public. Second, the clause stipulates “for limited times,” signifying that copyright protection is to be for a fixed period of time with an end date.

What exactly is a Copyright or Intellectual Property?

The definition of a copyright is: “Copyright literally means the right to copy. The term has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by statute to authors for protection of their writing. It includes the exclusive right to make and publish copies of the copyrighted work, to make other versions of work, and, with certain limitations, to make recording of the work and to perform the work in public,” according to the U.S. Copyright Office.

Intellectual property refers to intangible properties that are protected under the U.S. Copyright, Patent, and Trademark Laws outlined in Article 1, Section 8. It is someone’s property.

At the heart of CCS’s mission is education and training. We understand that copyright issues can be complex, confusing and overwhelming for church and ministry leaders, and that’s why we are offering absolutely FREE our new downloadable eBook, “Solve the Puzzle of Copyrights: Six Steps to Learning How to Do Music Right.” Get our free eBook today!

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