Treat Yourself to a Better Understanding of the Religious Service Exemption
October 26, 2020
Fall brings bright, colorful leaves, crisp Autumn days, and Halloween! Is your church hosting a trunk-or-treat? Or maybe scaled back outdoor Fall celebrations? Music plays a large role in special events – but what about copyright licensing requirements? Is your church exempt?
Understanding licensing and the Religious Service Exemption (RSE) can be tricky. So, it’s especially important during the fall and holiday season for churches to identify what they need for coverage and make sure the songs they want to play or perform are licensed.
It’s often assumed the U.S. Copyright Law exemption allows churches to use copyrighted music. However, this isn’t always the case. The RSE applies only to actual religious services, not events held outside of these services (a category most Fall and holiday programs are under). Many churches also plan on streaming music performances, such as the worship team during a service or a special program. While the RSE allows churches to play and perform copyrighted music in their worship service, this exemption does not extend to re-transmission of the service online.
To help clarify what churches need in the way of licensing, we address the most prevalent myths surrounding the RSE in our FREE download – The 7 Myths About the Religious Service Exemption. This exemption allows churches to use music without permission in certain situations, BUT there are other areas where churches are still liable if they do not have the proper licenses. Your church can better understand the ins and outs of the exemption to avoid liability and ensure copyright compliance.
Church leaders are busy enough this time of year. Go into the holiday season, with the knowledge that you won’t be “tricked” anymore by copyright confusion.
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 Instagram, 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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