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Copyright and live streaming of services

For information

On 30 April, the Church of England issued new guidance on the live streaming of services and copyright. Because the principles are of general application rather than merely of interest to C of E churches, we reproduce the main points below:

CCLI
CCLI introduced a streaming licence in mid-March 2020. It is available to any church which holds a CCLI Church Copyright Licence. For many churches, this licence will cover them for their streaming activity:

  • For churches who are streaming their services via YouTube or Facebook, the CCLI Streaming Licence will cover them for live worship music performed as part of that stream. (This would include services streamed or webcast via YouTube but embedded into the church’s own website).
  • You can check on the CCLI website as to whether permissions for a particular hymn or song are covered by them.
  • If the church is hosting the stream/webcast on their own website, they will need the PRS for Music Limited Online Music Licence (LOML) in addition to the CCLI Streaming Licence.
  • The CCLI Streaming Licence includes the right to show the words on screen.
  • The CCLI Streaming Licence allows a church to make recordings of the services available on their website indefinitely provided you keep renewing your streaming licences.
  • These licences cover ‘live’ music performances. If a church is using recorded music as part of the stream, additional rights come into play. Commercially available CDs or music recordings cannot be played unless specific permission is granted by the copyright holder.

There are several other Christian organisations that provide apps or software that provide backing tracks for worship, some of which are giving churches permission to use their pre-recorded tracks as part of their streams. Please carefully check first before using this material.

Using other copyrighted material

  • Permission should also be sought from the owner(s) of any other creative works included in the service. If reproducing bible verses, or liturgy, usually there will be copyright information in the front of the publication, and usually they will allow for a certain proportion to be reproduced.
  • For any images etc. the same rules would apply as in normal circumstances. Never assume that you can take an image found on Google and use it in a church service or include it in a service sheet or similar without permission.
  • Regarding a Service Sheet, as long as there are appropriate licences/permissions in place, making that service sheet available online should be fine.

One License

  • Another licence, One License [sic] is available which covers an additional range of church and choral music e.g. Taizé, GIA Publications, Oxford University Press, Wild Goose Resource Group, Kevin Mayhew.
  • While some materials from these publishers may already be covered by a CCLI Church Copyright Licence, this is worth exploring if you wish to stream a wider range of music. However, the same rules described above over seeking permission for ‘recorded’ performance still apply. The Church of England uses both a One Licence and CCLI Streaming Licence for the weekly online services to enable access to a broad range of Christian music.

Advice on using Zoom to stream services

  • Churches using Zoom to stream services need both the CCLI Streaming Licence and the PRS for Music LOML. This is because Zoom doesn’t currently have an agreement with PRS for Music as YouTube and Facebook do.

[Source: Church of England, 30 April]