Have you ever asked yourself why your church has a CCLI license? I mean, what about the legal mumbo jumbo about the religious service exemption to the copyright law? What is a CCLI license anyway? I want to answer these questions and more so I am going to spend some time and several posts exploring the issue of copyrights for the church and the individual. I pray that the information I provide here will be of immense help to you and your organization. Here is a short overview:

Many of those in churches and organizations today have some knowledge of the CCLI license and often have a general idea about copyrights: we shouldn’t pirate music or movies. But all too often churches assume that the CCLI license covers things that are explicitly not covered, such as duplicating rehearsal tracks, a practice that has never been covered by the basic CCLI license. As vague as those details might be, the general public knows even less about it. Thus it is commonplace to find Christian families, especially teens, that possess copies of music, movies and other copyrighted materials that have been illegally obtained. Both federal and international laws consider illegally obtaining copyrighted materials as stealing.

Copyright laws are the regulations that govern the usage of what is referred to as “intellectual properties” and protect the owners of said properties by granting them certain rights to restrict how and in what way those properties may be used. Simply stated: this is what allows artists, writers, videographers, photographers, choreographers, composers and songwriters to make a living. These people, and many others, have legal rights to be paid for their work and creativity and violating those rights is quite literally stealing their paycheck.

Copyright compliance is simply a term describing the respect of all intellectual property and its owner(s) in accordance with copyright law. Intellectual property can be anything within a wide range of areas and I will cover those in a later post, however the most important question you need to ask yourself in any given situation regarding the arts or entertainment is “Do I have permission to do this?” There are many other factors concerning copyrights and the laws providing them but that never overrides this pivotal question. If the answer is no then, please, refrain from doing it. If the answer is yes then double check it and have it in writing somewhere.

There is much more to come on this topic so please come back and visit! In the meantime, here are some links that might interest you.

Copyright Law

Christian Copyright Solutions

CCLI

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