While the Philadelphia Eagles took home the BIG win on Sunday night – the performances and commercials are also getting a lot of attention. We’ve gotten a few questions from churches regarding Super Bowl commercial use within services so we’d like to tackle a few this morning.
Q: Our pastor wants to show a Super Bowl commercial in his sermon during our service to illustrate a point. Can he do this?
A: The Religious Service Exemption would not apply to this use because it only covers musical works and literary works, not audiovisual works. It is unlikely that you can do so without getting permission from the owner of the ad. It may depend on the source for the commercial. If you made an AV recording of the commercial while it was showing on TV, then you have made a copy and it would require permission from the owner of the commercial. If you wanted to show it from a streaming service, like YouTube, you would have to follow the terms and conditions of that service.
Q: Can we include a Super Bowl commercial in the live stream of our service?
If your streaming the commercial, you would definitely need to get permission. The WORSHIPcast Streaming License only covers the performance of musical works, not audiovisual works, or TV shows that contain commercials.
Q: What if we just use the audio of the commercial (in this case the Martin Luther King speech audio from the Dodge Ram commercial)?
The Martin Luther King speech is a literary work and is covered by the Religious Service Exemption, but only if you display or perform it. It wouldn’t cover the recording of it that is used in this commercial. If you want to have someone in your congregation or worship team read or perform it live in your service, the Religious Service Exemption would allow you to present it in that manner.
If you have questions about this or any other copyright-related activity for your church, contact our copyright expert at 1-855-5SOLVER (576-5837). Or visit our website to access our learning center and download FREE fact sheets, blog, and other informative resources. If a church needs more information, it is advisable to seek legal counsel from a copyright or entertainment attorney.
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 Instagram. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.