Not sure if you have the same system through the rest of the world, but in the UK we are supposed to report our activities in using copyrighted songs through an organisation called CCLI.  Broadly speaking, I like this organisation... they provide a means whereby songwriters actually get some reward for the songs they write, and which we use.  All well and good.

But...

We used to report songs using a software tool called Copyreport.  This worked nicely.... if you used a particular song during the year then you ticked a box for making copies, a box for printing words, and a box for having projected the words.  Nice and easy... all done for that song for that year... one tickbox for each song.  But now - aaargh - they've switched to a web based tool and, boy, do they want detail!  Each time you print, or project, or record a song, they want to know about it.  If you make copies, they want to know exactly how many.  If you dowload the sheet music for a song, email it to 4 other musicians, and everyone (including yourself) prints out a copy, then you need to say that's 9 copies (one for each emailing activity, one for each printout).

I can see the admin side of my role has just got an awful lot more time consuming :-(

Anyone else in the UK (or elsewhere) discovered the new system, or similar, yet?

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I did our CCLI report a year or so ago; I found the online tool to be more difficult to use than the old paper one, though I understand the tree-saving benefits of an online tool.  As I have always found with CCLI, the instructions for what and how much to report were not clear and I, like (I suspect) a lot of other WLs, I ended up deciding "here's what I'm going to report and how I'm going to count it."  So for me, if I created a chord chart, it was one digital for the publisher file, one for a .pdf version, one print for all the copies I had to print for the band and one recording for every time we used the song and I remembered to turn on the digital recorder that day.  Did not report any extra activity if I had to go in and fix a typo or something in a file I'd already created and print new corrected copies.  I did report "Jesus Messiah" twice because we had a special chorus-only version we used a lot during advent.

Submitted the report that way, and CCLI didn't complain.  You may want to re-read the instructions and decide whether they're really asking for all that extra detail or not... their instructions, as they always have been, seemed rather easy to mis-read, and I think at the start I also had that "this is going to be way too much work."  In the end, my interpretation was that, except for the "recordings" thing, they really weren't asking for any more detail than they used to, and that really just translated to "how many times did you actually USE the song."  A little extra work, but... if the recorder was running during rehearsal and we did the song four times plus once in the service, it still just counted as one recording.

It's a long time since I used a paper reporting sheet....  I've been using the "Copyreport" software from CCLI for many years.  But this is definitely the first time they ever asked for "precisely how many times did you use the song?"  Up until now, the level of detail required was "did you use the song this year?" (i.e. yes or no).  This could be done, to good level of accuracy, by sitting down for a couple of hours once a year...  now I reckon it's a good 15-20 minutes a week.

And, yes, I'm pretty sure I read their instructions right.  For example, here's an excerpt from the music reproduction licence instructions...

********************

Examples

Five copies of a song are photocopied from a hymnbook for use by church/school musicians. You should report five (5) Reproduce activities for the song, ensuring you select the correct publication from which the copy was made.

A .pdf Chord Sheet is downloaded from SongSelect and imported into a device-based system that enables you to share the music with four other band members during your service. You should report four (4) Reproduce activities for the song and publication, one for each device it was shared with.

A song .pdf is downloaded from a publisher’s website. It is emailed to four fellow musicians. All five band members print out a copy for use during the next service/assembly. You should report nine (9) Reproduce activities for the song and publication, one for each recipient of the email (4) and one for each print out made (5).

***********************

Previously, it was just "did you make a copy of this song?", yes or no....



Charles Wolff said:

I did our CCLI report a year or so ago; I found the online tool to be more difficult to use than the old paper one, though I understand the tree-saving benefits of an online tool.  As I have always found with CCLI, the instructions for what and how much to report were not clear and I, like (I suspect) a lot of other WLs, I ended up deciding "here's what I'm going to report and how I'm going to count it." ...

You're right, that is way more complicated.  Note to self, retire as WL before the next CCLI reporting period comes around.

Is there a box for 'listened to song and wrote down lyrics, then made up chords to suit'? ;-)

Oh, Toni, I know you were joking, but....

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Examples

A song is printed in the weekly worship service sheet. 200 copies are printed for the congregation. Report the song as one (1) Print activity, not 200.

You have created three musical arrangements for a song in different keys for the trumpet, saxophone and guitar. You printed one copy for the trumpet, two copies for the saxophones, and three copies for the guitars. The song should be reported as three (3) Print activities, one for each unique arrangement, not the total number of copies made.

A congregational song sheet is printed for this week’s service. You should report one (1) Print activity for each song included. Two months later, you print another song sheet including the same songs. You should report another Print activity to represent a further reproduction of each song.

**********************

Toni said:

Is there a box for 'listened to song and wrote down lyrics, then made up chords to suit'? ;-)

I'm certain that many will give up and writers will not be paid like they were before. We should write in and tell them it needs to be easier. A tabular layout where you can go through and enter everything all at once would be nice. In fact, I wouldn't mind reporting for a whole quarter at once. 

Believe me, I am writing to them... I am not sure I am getting anywhere, but I may report back.

One thing I have noticed is how much CCLI like to emphasise that we, the churches, need them because otherwise we would have to sort out separate copyright payments to each copyright holder.  But I am not sure I agree... if CCLI didn't exist, then we would still go on singing songs, but we simply wouldn't send any money to copyright holders because we don't have time for that. I doubt the copyright holders would have the means or inclination to prosecute each and every church for breach of copyright (a similar situation holds in the secular music scene whenever an amateur band does a cover version...). So, I think it is the copyright holders who need CCLI, because otherwise they wouldn't get money at all.

(For my part, I'm happy to support CCLI while they make reasonable demands for reporting).

Stevo said:

I'm certain that many will give up and writers will not be paid like they were before. We should write in and tell them it needs to be easier. A tabular layout where you can go through and enter everything all at once would be nice. In fact, I wouldn't mind reporting for a whole quarter at once. 

Well, there is something to the story that the whole CCLI process was set off by FEL's lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Chicago for unlawful copying back in the 1980s - http://us.ccli.com/about/

No, hillsong wouldn't sue some 100-member Methodist church in Arizona over copyrights, but they might sue the denomination or the district, who would in turn come down on the churches and say, "you can only sing songs from this Methodist 'contemporary hymnal' that we created legally."  And we'd all be trying to figure out how to rock "Pass It On."  And I've heard - can't confirm - that CCLI does send spies around to visit churches and if a church appears to be violating copyright laws, they get a pleasant nastygram from CCLI.

And for the record, when a cover band plays somebody's song, it is the venue (the bar, arena, whoever) who handles the licensing through ASCAP, BMI, etc., not the band.  I'm sure a lot of fees never do actually get paid, but that's how it's supposed to work.

I fully agree, they need to keep the reporting reasonable, and it sounds like they're pushing the boundaries.

That's a little bit scary.  The "CCLI terms and conditions" are not too pleasant either.... they are drawn up so that CCLI can pretty much ask for anything they like.  All for distributing a few hundred pounds per church...

Charles Wolff said:

Well, there is something to the story that the whole CCLI process was set off by FEL's lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Chicago for unlawful copying back in the 1980s - http://us.ccli.com/about/

No, hillsong wouldn't sue some 100-member Methodist church in Arizona over copyrights, but they might sue the denomination or the district, who would in turn come down on the churches and say, "you can only sing songs from this Methodist 'contemporary hymnal' that we created legally."  And we'd all be trying to figure out how to rock "Pass It On."  And I've heard - can't confirm - that CCLI does send spies around to visit churches and if a church appears to be violating copyright laws, they get a pleasant nastygram from CCLI.

And for the record, when a cover band plays somebody's song, it is the venue (the bar, arena, whoever) who handles the licensing through ASCAP, BMI, etc., not the band.  I'm sure a lot of fees never do actually get paid, but that's how it's supposed to work.

I fully agree, they need to keep the reporting reasonable, and it sounds like they're pushing the boundaries.

Sort of a different topic, but I just got the CCLI Newsletter and it included a link to this...

http://worshipfuel.com/exceptions-to-the-exemption/?_cldee=Y2hhcmxl...

...which I thought was one of CCLI's best efforts so far to explain how the CCLI license and "fair use" or copyright exemption for church worship services works.  One might argue the point they make that in order to project lyrics one first has to "copy" them onto a slide or into a file on a computer, but, as I said, I thought it was a good discussion of how a CCLI license and the church exemptions do and do not overlap...

I don't think we have a similar law in the UK (I could be wrong, but I never heard of it).  I'm pretty sure something like CCLI does need to exist if we want to avoid copyright issues.  One problem is that CCLI has a total monopoly!

Charles Wolff said:

Sort of a different topic, but I just got the CCLI Newsletter and it included a link to this...

http://worshipfuel.com/exceptions-to-the-exemption/?_cldee=Y2hhcmxl...

...which I thought was one of CCLI's best efforts so far to explain how the CCLI license and "fair use" or copyright exemption for church worship services works.  One might argue the point they make that in order to project lyrics one first has to "copy" them onto a slide or into a file on a computer, but, as I said, I thought it was a good discussion of how a CCLI license and the church exemptions do and do not overlap...

So, I am writing to CCLI.  Rather than just moaning at them to say "this is too much", I'm trying to quantify how "too much" it is.  Here is a rough calculation:

 - I reckon that if I report at the detail they want, it might take me a total of 1.5days spread over the course of a year (here, I am thinking about 15 minutes per week).

 - In Europe, CCLI give licences to 165000 churches.  So, if I am typical, then over those churches, people like me in Europe will spend more than 1000 person-years, each year, just to provide the data that CCLI are asking for.  That is, you would need to employ 1000 people for a year to get the same amount of effort.

 - If you were to put an estimate, in economic terms, for the total cost of this, you ned to multiple by a "typical" salary.... so the cost is probably between £20million and £50million annually, perhaps more.

 This is in some senses a real cost to the Kingdom of God, because it amounts to good people spending time reporting to CCLI when they could be doing something else.  I don't think the data they are getting is worth that much, and I don't think any sensible person would spend that much deciding how to distribute royalty payments!

Let's see how I get on...

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