Why is it Important for the Church to Honor Copyrights? – Chapter 1 eBook Excerpt

October 8, 2015

Here is an excerpt from Religious Service Exemption and the Fair Use Doctrine in Chapter 1 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.


Why is it important for the Church to honor copyrights?

In this chapter, we address seven key reasons for becoming copyright compliant. You will learn the rationale for compliance from several perspectives, including legal, scriptural, ethical, witnessing and supporting songwriters.

When I teach at church conferences and talk to pastors and worship leaders, I hear a common chord…copyright compliance is one of the most enigmatic and puzzling issues facing church worship leaders and ministries today. There are a myriad of questions that can ofen be confusing and overwhelming.

Many Christian leaders have a vague sense of guilt when they’re burning CD copies, emailing MP3 files, or making photocopies of an octavo or songbook, but they ofen think, “Gosh, we’re a non-profit organization, we’re doing God’s work, and who’s going to know anyway?”

So, what’s the big deal? Why is it important to understand copyright issues, and how can it affect your church’s life of worship and ministry? To the point…why is it important for the Church to honor copyrights?

Here are some of the most common reasons I hear from church leaders to honor copyrights:

1. To avoid the risk and liability of lawsuits and fines;

2. To obey the laws of the land (the U.S. Constitution protects copyrighted works as intellectual property);

3. To be a good witness to our communities;

4.To abide by scripture guidelines (Romans 8);

5. To honor and support authors and artists.

6.To help GIVE MUSIC LIFE and be a part of supporting songwriters and creatives.

7. God blesses us with a fresh outpouring of new songs and creative works.

When church leaders or decision makers establish the commitment to BECOMING copyright compliant, it’s essential that they communicate the why, or the reason, behind copyright policies and procedures. It can really help in involving your teams and ministries in a unified approach to honoring copyrights. One of the keys is understanding that BECOMING copyright compliant is a PROCESS and it takes time and a unified effort.

The best place for churches to start supporting copyright compliance in worship is education, information and training regarding how the 5 U.S. Copyright Law affects their ministries and the simplest ways to be compliant.

Categorized in: