Church Summer VBS Programs Great Opportunity to Impact Children

July 8, 2015

Summer months can mean lazy beach days…or travel nightmares…or even epic Griswold-style vacation adventures. But it’s also the season for Vacation Bible School (VBS) when church ministries have a tremendous opportunity to touch the lives of many “unchurched” children with the Good News.

We’ve had a lot of calls and questions in June about music in VBS programs and what licensing churches need to keep it legal. The Good News: there is a SIMPLE, easy and affordable license solution with CCS’s PERFORMmusic License. Coverage is IMMEDIATE and allows you to play and perform more than 19 million Christian and secular songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

It’s great to enhance these summertime ministries with music, but it’s important to make sure you’re copyright compliant so you don’t risk copyright infringement or even a lawsuit or high fines and fees.

Many fresh, exciting “packaged” VBS kits are available and many churches are discovering how helpful they are in simplifying the planning and bringing everything together. Typically, these kits contain songs, lessons, skits and everything you need to pull off a dynamic VBS experience.

Depending on the publisher, the use of these kits may also simplify your copyright concerns. Read the fine print to see if the purchase of the kit grants you the rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, record, or otherwise use their copyrighted materials. If their terms of use give you the explicit rights to do these things, you do not need to seek additional copyrights to use them in the specified manner. However, it is very important to be aware that when publishers grant these rights, the PERFORMANCE RIGHTS are usually not included, and they often grant them only for a limited period of time; typically, one year from the purchase date. Any rights that are NOT explicitly granted in the terms of use require copyright licensing.

The U.S. Religious Service Exemption in the Copyright Law Section (110[3]) allows you to freely perform music in your worship service. But did you know that many camps and church summer programs are at risk and out of compliance for performing or playing music in a non-exempt setting? In most cases, using copyrighted songs outside of religious services requires performance licensing.

For ONSITE performance licensing (in any of your facilities or campuses) for copyrighted musical works, you can obtain CCS’s PERFORMmusic License. For streaming musical performances ONLINE, get the WORSHIPcast License.

If you have any questions about copyright compliance requirements for your summertime programs, projects or services, please call to speak with a CCS representative at 1-855-5SOLVE (576-5837) to discuss your specific licensing needs.

CCS’s quest is to help churches and 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 Pinterest. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.

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