Prepping for VBS is the hard part. Licensing is SIMPLE.

May 14, 2019

Churches and ministries put in countless hours (the majority of those volunteer hours!) to put on fun and educational Vacation Bible School programs each summer. So this time every year, we start to get calls and questions about music in VBS programs and what licensing churches need to keep it legal.

Prepping for VBS is the hard part. Licensing is SIMPLE. 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. Many “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 right 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 a 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.

While the Religious Service Exemption allows you to freely perform music in your worship service, it does not cover church summer programs that play music in non-exempt settings. In most cases, using copyrighted songs outside of religious services requires performance licensing.

This is the easy part. CCS’s PERFORMmusic Facilities License provides IMMEDIATE coverage and allows you to play and perform more than 25 million Christian and secular songs. If you wish to stream these performances online, the WORSHIPcast Online Streaming License allows you to do just that.

So before your building is filled with the sounds of excited children ready for a fun-filled week of God-focused activities, check licensing off your to-do list by giving us a call or visiting our website today.

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) or live chat online.

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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