On The Second Day of Christmas…Doing Music Right

Continuing in our 12 Ways of Christmas…Doing Music Right,” our message for the second-day is the benefits of churches having two music performance licenses.

On the Second Day of Christmas…Church Performance Licensing

The most foundational action your church should take towards copyright compliance is securing performance licensing. Performance licensing is required for churches playing or performing copyrighted music in routine ministry activities, as well as special events.

Performance Licensing for Facilities

With the exception of the Religious Service Exemption, the legal requirements for use of copyrights by non-profit religious organizations are pretty much the same as any business or organization. There are some other possible exemptions or limitations, such as the non-profit concert exemption and aspects of Fair Use, but they apply to any type of organization and are not specific to just churches or non-profit religious organizations. So, a Christmas program that is not part of the church’s religious service is not exempt and will require performance licensing. Plus, the Religious Service Exemption does not apply to broadcasting or online streaming of your service.

When it comes to misunderstandings about the Copyright Law, there’s a lot of confusion regarding Fair Use and the Religious Service exemption. There aren’t many exceptions or exemptions to the U.S. Copyright Law, but churches can really benefit from the religious service exemption in the law (Section 110[3]) if they fully understand it. Download our FREE Fact Sheet on the Religious Service Exemption.

The easiest and most affordable solution is CCS’s PERFORMmusic License.

PERFORMmusic Facilities License by CCS

  • Catalog size: 20 million Christian, secular and seasonal songs from the catalogs of ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC
  • CCS’s PERFORMmusic License allows churches to legally perform and play recorded music outside of religious services.
  • CCS’s PERFORMmusic License DOES grants the rights to:
    • Play music before or after service
    • Hold concerts (no admission charge)
    • Play on-hold music
    • Play music in bookstores and coffee shops
    • Play music in aerobics and exercise classes
    • Play music in seminars and conferences
    • Play music at social functions
  • CCS’s PERFORMmusic License DOES NOT grant the rights to:
    • Charge admission fees
    • Retransmit performances on radio, TV or Internet

Internet Performance Licensing

Many churches want to feature their Christmas productions on their websites during December. In order to legally stream copyrighted music on websites, a digital streaming performance license is required.

WORSHIPcast Streaming License by CCS

  • Catalog size: 20 million Christian, secular and seasonal songs from the catalogs of ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.
  • CCS’s WORSHIPcast License DOES grant the rights to:
    • Webcast live performances of music
    • Webcast archived performances of music
    • Charge for access to services
  • CCS’s WORSHIPcast License DOES NOT grant the rights to:
    • Make performances available for download
    • Webcast third party recordings
    • Webcast copyrighted works other than songs

Church Streaming and Podcast License by CCLI

  • Catalog size: Over 300,000 worship songs
  • The Church Streaming and Podcast License by CCLI requires an active Church Copyright License by CCLI. This license grants the additional rights needed for churches to stream and podcast songs in the CCLI catalog online.
  • CCLI’s Church Streaming and Podcast License DOES grant the rights to:
    • Stream your performances of catalog songs in worship services
    • Podcast your performances of catalog songs in worship services
  • CCLI’s Church Streaming and Podcast License DOES NOT grant the rights to:
    • Stream or podcast your performances other than worship services
    • Stream or podcast copyrighted master recordings
    • Stream or podcast songs not in catalog, including all secular songs
    • Charge for access to streams or podcasts
    • Use any copyrighted material besides songs

Be sure to look for the third way to do music right in tomorrow’s blog post.

CCS’s Founder and CVO, Susan Fontaine Godwin is an educator and long-time member of the Christian arts community with 30 years of experience in the Christian media industry, church copyright administration, and copyright management. Susan is an author and speaker and frequently writes for several Christian magazines and online publications. She serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Mobile.

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