Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI)

Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI)

We hold several licences from CCLI covering a range of copyright and performance issues. Full details are available from the CCLI website. Several of these licences require usage reporting in order to ensure fair distribution of licence fees to copyright holders. Reporting does not imply paying any additional fee.

CCL55360Church Copyright Licence, permits reproduction of song words for use in worship services. We have to report the number of times we project or print words for songs. We do not have to report when we sing songs directly out of books that we own. We do have to report songs taken from our online SongSelect subscription. Ideally this should be reported weekly.
MRL55360Music Reproduction Licence, supplemental to CCL, permits copying of sheet music for musicians’ use, provided that a legal copy is already held. If it is copied from a book then you must own the book. This also covers material downloaded from SongSelect. We have to report the number of individual copies printed. Copies can be re-used without reporting them again. Ideally this should be reported weekly.
CLA586846Copyright Licensing Agency, permits photocopying of non-music publications for use in church, e.g. magazine articles about evangelism, worship, health & safety, pages from study guides, games & puzzles for children’s activities, drama scripts, quizzes for social events, etc. Some magazines contain photocopyable materials where permission is already given. We need to report title, author, publisher and ISBN every time we make a copy. Ideally this should be reported weekly.
PRS586839Performing Rights Society, permits live performance of any work in copyright, on any occasion. PRS represents the rights of the composers/authors of the work. Our licence already covers us for up to 6 concerts per year so no reporting is required. Above that we would be considered a performance venue and would need to get a separate licence directly from PRS.
PPL1662006Public Performance Licence, supplemental to PRS, permits playing of commercial audio recordings, on any occasion. PPL represents the rights of the performers on the recording. We have to report annually on works performed that are not part of a religious service, so this would include coffee mornings, exhibitions, etc. Services, weddings and funerals do not require reporting. We do not have to report every individual track, but we do need to indicate the proportion of Christian, Classical, Choral, Pop, etc. styles by percentage. There is also a list of publishers and we have to say whether we use them often/sometime/never.
CVL586860Church Video Licence, playing of DVD/film in copyright during church services, and on any occasion if a PRS licence is also held. You do do have to check whether the particular film is covered by CVL because not everything is. Check the Is My Film Covered page for more details. Holding this licence also gives us free standard membership of Screenvue which offers free downloadable movie clips, which could be used in talks and sermons. No reporting is required.
SL+148117Streaming Plus Licence, showing song lyrics from copyright songs in material we upload to a video streaming service such as YouTube or Facebook. We can also include commercial recordings of worship material with two provisos: the recording publisher must be listed by CCLI, and the recording can only be used in the context of an act of worship.

Copyright and Performing Rights

Burdensome though it may seem, these rules exist to ensure that writers and performers get paid fairly for their work. Making a living as a musician or writer is a precarious existence that relies on the royalty system for income, keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table.

It is a complex area with several different components.

A work of any sort remains in copyright until 70 years after death of the original author or composer. After the 70 years have expired, the work passes into the public domain and can be used free of charge. For a song, music and lyrics may be considered separately, so if someone writes a new tune to old words, the music remains in copyright even when the words are in the public domain. It is also possible to copyright an arrangement of a work, even if that work is now in the public domain.

Copyright means that you cannot reproduce the sheet music, printed words, projected words, etc. unless you have the appropriate paid licence to do so.

The author also holds performance rights on their work, and are entitled to receive a royalty whenever the work is performed. There is an exemption for this when the work is part of a religious service within a church building, but it does not include recording, broadcasting or streaming services.

Separate to the author’s rights, whenever a work is performed the performer also has rights to receive a royalty. Again, there is an exemption for works included in a religious service, but not for recording, broadcasting or streaming.

Websites and Streaming

When a copyright work is used on a website or streaming service, it immediately gains worldwide availability, so there are strict limits on what you can do and most of the licences we hold do not cover that context.

If a service or similar event is recorded and uploaded to the internet then you must have a streaming licence in order to show song lyrics. You can record your own versions of these songs (cover versions) but you cannot include other peoples’ recordings, e.g. ripped from a CD or another recording, without the express permission of the recording artist. Lots of people do it, but it is illegal and such recordings frequently receive take-down notices for copyright and performing rights violations.

The CCLI standard streaming licence covers the copyright but not the performing rights aspect. If you upload the recording to YouTube or Facebook then you are automatically covered for performing rights (royalty to the song/music author) of your own recording, as these organisations have an agreement with the Performing Rights Society which permits this. If you upload the recording to your own website then you must purchase a Limited Online Music Licence to cover these performance royalties. This is an author royalty, not a performer royalty.

The CCLI streaming plus licence also covers performing rights for worship tracks used within a worship service. You cannot use these tracks in any other material, e.g. a video promoting a service, an outreach video, etc.