The same laws that apply to most intellectual property also apply to the music that is used in church services, bulletins and other media. According to the Music Publisher's Association, "when you use someone else's property, you must have the property owner's consent," so asking for permission is the key.
Copyright and Intellectual Property
A copyright determines a person's work belongs to that person, if only for a specific period of time. In 1977, copyright length was determined to be the length of the creator's life plus 70 years. If anyone other than the copyright owner wants to use or reproduce that work, permission must be granted by the copyright owner. Copyrighted music is also known as "intellectual property."
Permission to use Copyrighted Work
Those wanting to photocopy, reproduce, teach, sing, record, or make any copy or duplication of copyrighted material must obtain consent. To get permission, one must contact the individual or organization that owns the copyright. The notice usually consists of a symbol that denotes a copyright, or the word itself, in addition to the year of publication and the name of the owner. Owners should be contacted before the work is used, and it is important to note a fee is often associated with obtaining consent to use copyrighted material. After a copyright expires, anyone is free to use the works. In these cases, the works enter the "public domain" and will generally be free of any copyright notice.
Religious Services Exemption
There is a "religious services exemption" in copyright law that allows for the use of copyrighted works of a religious nature during worship or at religious services. If the copyrighted work is going to be used for any church-related purpose other than during worship, consent must be obtained from the copyright owner.
Consent can be obtained to use many works that are used in congregational singing from Christian Copyright Licensing Inc. (CCLI). The license granted by the CCLI only applies to congregational music and does not apply to any works to be sung by a choir, soloist, or other individual or group of musicians.
Reproduced and Original Recordings
Recordings of instrumental tracks or accompaniment tracks that are copyrighted cannot be duplicated without permission from the copyright owner. Original recordings of copyrighted works can be made, but a "mechanical license" must be obtained. Church services cannot be recorded for church members without permission, but the CCLI license allows for a specific and limited number of recordings and copies to be made. Similarly, video recordings of copyrighted works cannot be made without permission from the copyright owner.
Music Copyright Laws for Church Praise & Worship
Under the United States copyright law established by Congress and reconstituted in 1976, creators of music are protected from the unauthorized reproduction,...
Copyright Laws in Music
The fight between musicians, the recording industry and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks has brought music copyright laws into stark relief. The Recording Industry...
Video Copyright Laws
Known as the face-to-face teaching exemption as well as ... movies when they purchase a public performance site ... use in music...
How to Locate a Tax Exempt Number For a Church
How to Locate a Tax Exempt Number For a Church. The Internal Revenue Service maintains and tracks a list of tax-exempt ......
Tips For Leading Praise and Worship
Before you commit to being a praise and worship leader, consider how you live. In order to transition a church congregation from...
What is Fair Use in Music Copyright Law?
What is Fair Use in Music Copyright Law?. ... Copyright Laws on Using Music in a Slideshow. For Profit Vs. Non-Profit Copyright...
Gift Ideas for a Christian Women's Conference
Gift Ideas for a Christian Women's Conference. ... or custom-made song books filled with the hymns and choruses sung at the ......