The Christmas Countdown Is On

November 2, 2021

Planning for Copyright Coverage

By the time November rolls around the Christmas decorations go up and church holiday programs begin. While the holiday season is the absolute most wonderful time for communities to gather and celebrate, we know a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to host events and put together productions.

Copyright clearances can be the last thing you want to think about on your never-ending to-do list. But waiting too long can mean not obtaining permissions for songs you want to use. So, we’re coming out the gate first of November talking copyrights and sharing some simple steps and guidelines to help navigate your holiday productions and limit potential copyright infringement.

Christmas, Copyrights, and Your Church

You can’t obtain permissions if you don’t start with a plan. And we recommend the PLAN system:

Prepare a list of all copyrighted materials and uses.

Learn the basics of copyrights law and how it impacts your church (check out our learning center).

Allow time to obtain licensing and permissions.

Never use copyrighted material without permission.

Once you know what songs you are using and in what context you will be using, here are some tangible and tactical steps you can take to ensure copyright compliance:

  • Church blanket licenses save both time and money by covering a large catalog for one fee. There are various blanket licenses based on your church’s needs. For performance licensing Christian Copyright Solutions has you covered, CCLI covers reproduction rights. These licenses work together to provide the most comprehensive coverage for your church. To learn more about the differences, check out this video.
  • If you plan on recording your program (audio or video), obtain mechanical and synchronization licenses for all copyrighted music and sound recordings.
  • Be sure to get signed consent and release forms from any participants (staff or volunteers) who will appear in your production. This is especially important for any children or minors.
  • Do not distribute any recorded and duplicated material (CDs, DVDs, songbooks, etc.) until all copyrighted material is cleared.
  • Don’t assume all Christmas songs are in the public domain; many are copyrighted and owned by secular companies and require permission. We have another blog post focusing on this topic!
  • If you need help in finding copyright owners and understanding how to get licensing, contact a copyright professional.
  • As you review your production checklists, if you have questions regarding performance licensing or would like more information, give one of our customer service representatives a call at (855) 576-5837 or email

About CCS:  CCS is a leading authority 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 InstagramFacebook, 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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