Matters of copyright and ensuring you're sharing material within the law, is important.

The following sections highlight some of the considerations churches must consider, depending on what they do and the resources they use.

If you are unsure, a good place to start from the outset is the Christian Copyright Licensing International website which has a wealth of resources for how to help keep you within the law and an extremely helpful helpline.

There are a number of different activities within church life that will require a copyright licence, these would typically include; Music and lyrics, showing films and videos, use of pictures on your website and photocopying prayer sheets etc.

There is no single one-stiop-shop for a single licence that will cover all your various needs, but the following sections highlight where you might want to explore.

Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI)

A great website that deals with many areas of copyright is the Christian Copyright Licensing International. The main licences offered by the CCLI are listed below.

Church Copyright Licence

  • The CCLI® Church Copyright Licence™ allows churches to project or print out the words and music to worship songs and hymns.
  • The church is covered for recording services on behalf of those unable to attend in person and the licence permits the creation of custom musical arrangements where not published.

Streaming/Streaming Plus Licences

  • The CCLI® Streaming Licences allows churches to stream or webcast their services via platforms that are otherwise only intended for personal use.
  • The Streaming Plus Licence also allows churches to stream Master Recordings and Multitracks. Both licences include the right to show lyrics as part of the stream.

Music Reproduction Licence

  • Covering typography. Permission is required to photocopy typeset sheet music even if the work you wish to reproduce is no longer in copyright. To address this issue, the CCLI® Music Reproduction Licence™ was designed as an optional add-on to the Church Copyright Licence.
  • This licence enables you to legally photocopy or scan typeset pages from many of the songbooks and music publications commonly used by churches. It also permits you to share sheet music digitally - such as by emailing PDFs to others or by downloading music from a file-sharing app.

CLA Church Licence

  • The CCLI also offers a licence tailored for churches that wish to make photocopies from non-music publications. With the CLA Church Licence™, you are legally covered to copy pages from publications such as study books, journals, magazines, children’s activity books and drama scripts where permission is required.

Church Video Licence

  • The Church Video Licence™ provides the legal cover required to publicly show film scenes during services. When combined with other licences, it also permits churches to show films and TV broadcasts outside of worship services, for example, during youth clubs, outreach events and social activities.

PRS for Music Church Licence

  • CCLI tailors coverage for churches to host live music performances, concerts and recitals on their premises (conditions apply). Music played during regular worship services does not currently require licensing, the PRS for Music Church Licence™ covers your church for other music performances, such as during socials and outreach events and film soundtracks.

PPL Church Licence

  • CCLI offers the PPL Church Licence™. When combined with the PRS for Music Church Licence this covers churches to legally play music recordings on CD, MP3 and other formats in activities on church premises. Music played during Acts of Worship does not currently require licensing, recordings played at other times requires both licences.

One Licence

  • ONE LICENSE is available that covers an additional range of church and choral music. For example, the Church of England uses both a One Licence and CCLI Streaming Licence to enable access to a broad range of Christian music.
  • Through ONE LICENSE, License Holders have access to thousands of congregational hymns, songs, and service music to use in worship aids, service bulletins, and projections.

Rights-free music from the Church of England

  • The Church of England, via the A Church Near You resource hub, provides a resource of rights-free music for Church of England churches to use on streamed services, providing the church holds a CCLI Streaming Licence. 

Further Considerations

  • Permission should be sought from the owner(s) of any other creative works included in the service.
  • When reproducing bible verses, or liturgy, there will generally be copyright information in the publication saying what is required in order to use that material.
  • When using pictures and images similar rules normally apply as the use of music, video and lyrics. There are also various EU GDPR and safeguarding considerations around the use of images. For this reason, general images found from one of the online royalty providers such as Pexels or Pixabay should be considered.

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Page last updated: Tuesday 23rd April 2024 4:20 PM
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