Are Millions of Pinners Guilty of Copyright Infringement?

May 28, 2014by Susan Fontaine Godwin
Are Millions of Pinners Guilty of Copyright Infringement?I’m a fan of Pinterest and indulge from time to time. Friends have reticently and half-heartedly asked me about potential copyright infringement issues in copying and pinning their favorite photos, painting, sayings and poems on their boards. I dutifully inform them that it is the act of copying an image, if it is copyrighted, that constitutes copyright infringement and the cost of breaking the federal law can be staggering – anywhere from $750 to $150,000 per offense...

Click-Copy-Paste Can Result in Danger of Copyright Infringement

May 05, 2014by Susan Fontaine Godwin
Click-Copy-Paste Can Result in Danger of Copyright InfringementI have talked to church leaders for years about what I call the “click-copy-paste syndrome" on their websites. The Internet has given people access to a myriad of images, photographs, literary works and many other copyrighted works. There’s a real danger in thinking that "if I can copy and paste something on the web, then it must be OK."   What people fail to realize is that there’s a good chance what they’re copying is someone else’s copyrighted work and requires permission to duplicate it. Church websites often contain a broad spectrum of copyrighted works, so it’s critical that the web master or someone at the church act as a gatekeeper to monitor and make sure no copyrighted works are used unless permission is obtained.   I came across a great article by Ken Colburn on WTOP Consumer Tech about the risks people face if they copy and paste without permission. Here’s a great example of the potential infringement with a Q&A in Mr. Colburn’s article:   PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Anonymous asks: I got a notice of copyright infringement via Fedex from a company called Masterfile for an image that I have posted on my website. They want $2,500 as compensation; is this a scam, or should I take this seriously?   The Internet makes it so easy to copy and paste just about anything you find online, and that has led to a major problem for website owners and photographers: copyright infringement.   Image copyright infringement is running rampant, primarily because so many people have no understanding of what is and isn't copyrighted. Masterfile is one of many companies that sells images and aggressively pursues anyone who uses one of their images without paying for it.   To read Mr. Colburn’s complete article, click here.   In addition, church leaders must be very careful about obtaining signed consent and release forms from any person who is shown in a photograph or video on their websites, or whose creative works, including songs, literary works, or performances are featured. 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 Twitter, Facebook andPinterest.   The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.      

The Healthy Creative: Perspective from Randy Elrod

May 07, 2013by Randy Elrod
The Healthy Creative: Perspective from Randy ElrodWhen we're creative, we are most fully alive. The excitement of the lead worshiper, the musician at an instrument, the artist at the easel comes closest to the ideal fulfillment we all hope to get from life, and so rarely do.   Perhaps only sex, sports and religious ecstacy provide a similar sense of being part of something greater than ourselves. But creativity leaves an outcome, an artifact, that adds to the richness and complexity of humanity and the future. Healthy and productive creatives are remarkable for their ability to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals. When a person works in the area of their expertise, worries and cares fall away, replaced by a sense of bliss. Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all healthy creatives, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection and would write commercial jingles, ministers would work for businesses where they would earn twice as much as they do at churches, and would-be musicians and actors would stop waiting tables and get a “real job” where the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable. Creativity often requires effort and struggle and the willingness to endure anxiety, since creative efforts usually have the potential of failing, of being criticized, and even being rejected. Some people are unwilling to make the necessary effort to endure the unavoidable anxiety—the “resistance” as Steven Pressfield calls it, in his extraordinary book The War of Art—and therefore never live up to their full potential. Not all people have the same capacity for expressing their creativity, since it, like all other capacities, is a product of both nature and nurture, of genes and developmental encouragement. But there is a form of creativity that has nothing to do with artistic talent. It is the personal creativity of the healthy self that makes original, unique and effective rearrangements of one’s interior life. This inner creativity is in turn expressed outwardly in new, more adaptive and harmonious ways of living such as spontaneity, flexibility, and originality. The birthright of the healthy self is creativity: the ability to invent, to perceive old patterns in new relationships, or to rearrange old patterns in new ways. Everyone with a healthy real self has the potential for leading a creative life and successfully dealing with challenges and problems. Most people fulfill only a small percentage of their potential for creativity, unaware of the creative energies they possess either on artistic or personal levels. There are many possible reasons for this failure. Any creative endeavor, such as writing music, facing a blank canvas, or beginning a new project at work or at home, can bring on anxiety. This tension leads to symptoms such as depression, sleeplessness, irritability, or inability to concentrate. These are normal reactions to our fear of embarking upon the unknown, and can lead to “resistance,” such as avoiding the activity, becoming excessively involved in it or simply giving up. These dark periods can be good teachers. It should be the work of creative tribes to encourage, refresh and mentor fellow creatives when they inevitably encounter these challenging times. Those of us who are guides—however we are labeled: minister, mentor, friend, neighbor, conference leader—must tell those in pain it will not last forever; there is a light at the end of the darkness and they will see it. We should not rush through, leap over, nor skip over the “resistance.” It is good for us to feel it. Not fun, but good. That means we will have some dark days. Historic cultures saw this resistance as a necessary time of incubation and transformation. Yet this sacred space is the very space we avoid. When we avoid resistance, we avoid tension, spiritual creativity and yes, transcendence. However, if we persist through these anxieties, we will discover meaning by the very act of completing the project. It is in creative acts—from artistic masterpieces to everyday innovation and problem solving—that we are most alive. This healthy self enables us to experiment in work, as in love, to find and achieve the sense of personal meaning essential for a fulfilling life. Randy Elrod is a creative who lives to spread influence by mentoring and encouraging influential people to diffuse ideas and create culture. More of his thoughts can be found regularly at, his paintings at, and his gatherings for creatives and worship leaders at CCS's INDIEadmin service can help independent creatives with administration of their copyrighted works, so they can be free to focus on their creativity.  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 Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.      

NFL Helps Churches Host Legal XLVII Super Bowl Parties

February 01, 2013by Susan Fontaine Godwin
NFL Helps Churches Host Legal XLVII Super Bowl PartiesChurches across the U.S. are planning Super Bowl viewing parties this weekend with little worry or anxiety. But that hasn’t always been the case. A lot has changed over the past few years, and the NFL has made tremendous efforts working with churches to facilitate legal parties providing clear and simple guidelines.     The road to legal church viewing events of the NFL’s copyrighted broadcast was at times a harrowing and bumpy journey, but it’s a great illustration of how copyright owners (whether sports teams, film or music) can work with users (and legislators) to find win-win solutions.

NFL Official Statement Provides Rules for Church Super Bowl Parties

January 25, 2013by Susan Fontaine Godwin
NFL Official Statement Provides Rules for Church Super Bowl Parties   One of America’s most sacred holidays is fast approaching. The 47th National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl is just a few days away and many churches are preparing to host viewing parties. Many church leaders are concerned about what they need to do to host their Super Bowl parties without fear of penalties and interference from the NFL for copyright infringement. CopyrightSolver recently had a chance to ask an NFL representative regarding the NFL's policies for churches that plan on hosting viewing parties on February 3rd. Here are a few key points from the full article. CopyrightSolver: "Many Churches enjoy gathering together to watch the Super Bowl each year, but they are unsure about necessary steps they must take in order to stay copyright compliant when doing so. What requirements must a church meet in order to host a "viewing party”? NFL: "A church may hold their “viewing party” in its usual place of worship and must not charge a fee for attending such viewing party. If those requirements are met, the NFL will not object when a church has a party for its congregants to watch the Super Bowl together.” A key point in the NFL's response to churches is its allowance of a viewing party in its “usual place of worship.” This is an important qualification to understand. We understand that many churches do not have a typical church campus and many use rented public spaces to conduct worship services. Here is the NFL’s position on these situations. CopyrightSolver: "Many churches that hold regular services meet in rented spaces (i.e. convention centers, hotel conference centers, movie theaters, and school auditoriums). Does your previously mentioned statement regarding “usual place of worship” also apply to churches in these situations?" NFL: "No, the NFL’s grant of permission is with respect to the church property (not rented spaces).” CopyrightSolver: "We also understand that it is important for churches not to use registered trademarks of the NFL in any promotional materials, including via social media or on their websites concerning the viewing party; which trademarks  are most commonly used without permission? And how could they be properly licensed for use?" NFL: "If  a church is only using NFL marks and no logos to describe the party in materials distributed to its congregants, the NFL will not object. For example, you can refer to the party as the Super Bowl party and you can refer to the two teams participating (i.e., "San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens"), but cannot use the NFL Shield, Super Bowl or Club logos." If you have questions about this or any other copyright-related activity for your church, contact our Copyright Solvers at 1-855-5SOLVER (576-5837). Or log on to to access our knowledge base, fact sheets, blog and other informative resources.    

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.