Why Your Church Needs Performance Licensing
October 20, 2020
Bring more music to your ministry.
With meeting restrictions in place, your church might be exploring new ways to engage with your congregation. Chances are, during this unique season, your church or ministry is playing music outside of services or streaming services and events.
Copyright coverage in the church setting can be confusing, it can be hard to determine which type of licensing you need for different activities. We get it. To simplify things, we created a FREE guide that focuses on one type of copyright coverage in particular, performance licensing.
Before we get into details, let’s look at a few brief definitions to help lay the groundwork for understanding performance licensing:
Defined as occurring “in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.” Most church performances fit these criteria.
A performance license grants permission to have these public performances, whether it is a live performance or playing of pre-recorded music, like an MP3 or a CD, or even a streaming service such as Spotify.
Performance Rights Organizations (PROs)
The three leading PROs in the United States; ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC control and manage music performance licenses. Every songwriter and publisher who wants to be paid performance royalties registers with one of the PROs, which together represent more than 28 million songs. PROs collect performance license fees for a wide range of uses, from the internet, radio, and TV broadcasts to stadiums, coffee shops, bowling alleys, and restaurants.
Religious Service Exemption (RSE)
Religious organizations qualify for an exemption in the U.S. Copyright Law (section 110). Still, church leaders must understand which performances qualify and which do not. According to the exemption, the following performances are not copyright infringements:
“…performance of a non-dramatic literary or musical work or of a dramatico-musical work of a religious nature or display of a work, in the course of services at a place of worship or other religious assembly” shall not constitute infringement of copyright.”
Ready to learn more?
Recently updated for 2020 – our FREE download, “Why Your Church Needs Performance Licensing,” identifies six reasons churches and ministries need music performance rights licenses in the context of common church activities. This easy to understand guide will help you learn how to obtain simple, one-stop performance licenses that will give your church or ministry tremendous freedom to legally play and perform music.
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 Facebook, Instagram, 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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