I subscribe to songselect.com and do my copy reporting there, but here are some questions I've been curious about. Is there an easy-to-understand website that answers these questions: What are the rules for burning practice CDs for the worship band? I buy the songs on itunes, but do I then have to buy them again for each member of the team?
On our PowerPoint, what information do we have to include for copyright?
Once I print sheet music from songselect (CCLI), am I able to copy it?
Also, what about youtube? Isn't watching videos on there for practice as much a copyright violation as downloading the songs illegally?
Finally, are we allowed to record ourselves singing songs that we didn't write and then post them on our website?
Wow, you've asked just about all the hot button questions on copyright issues that we all wrestle with! The answers aren't simple, unless you want to adopt the position of "I won't do anything just to make sure I don't break an arbitrary rule..." I don't know of any "easy to understand website" that can answer these things, but here are a few of my own thoughts.
CCLI has a lot of basic information about copyright and song use on their website (i.e. your songselect service), but even as a copyright owner who has songs registered with CCLI, I still find their info either confusing or limited. Still, it's a good place to start.
Burning practice CDs: Many worship teams do it, though technically it's not allowed. If you look into the strict letter of the law on music copyright issues, those songs you buy from itunes are for your own personal use only, and "technically" you're not supposed to let anybody else even hear them...pretty extreme, if you ask me. CCLI has recognized the problem of teams needing to hear songs to practice, so they are (last I heard) developing a new license that allows you to do just that - burn practice CDs.
Some churches (ours included) will put the mp3 files up on a church password-protected website so that only the band members can log in and hear the songs. A kind of a compromise, I guess.
PowerPoint Display: As noted on the CCLI website, you must put the CCLI copyright information for each song somewhere on one of the slides (most churches put it at the bottom of the first slide, in small print).
Copying sheet music: my understanding is that you can make copies of the sheet music as long as you report that you have downloaded it. Again, check the CCLI site for clarification. As an example, I get a credit if a church reports downloading the lead sheets of my songs, but I don't get 10 credits if the church made ten copies of it.
Also note that if you keep that original lead sheet and copy from it a month later, you do not have to report it again.
YouTube: Yes, most of Youtube is actual copyright violation, but who really cares? I'd love to have millions of people hearing my song and then wanting to use it in their church one day...:)
Music posted on Websites: You need a special license to broadcast non-original songs on your website. CCLI does not cover this, but there are licenses that do, like Christian Copyright Solutions http://www.copyrightsolver.com/default.aspx
One suggestion I'll make is to go to many of the worship leader/band's websites and see what songs they offer for free use. For example, at Paul Baloche's website (Leadworship.com) you'll find just about all of his song leadsheets available for free download (http://www.leadworship.com/resources/songbook.html). In other words, many worship leaders are not as worried about the strict letter of the law when it comes to copyright as many of the music companies are. They just want to get their music out to the body of Christ to be used.
Rick pretty much covered it all, the one thing I would add is that when you make a practice CD which is copies of songs from commercial CDs, you are violating TWO copyrights - the copyright to the SONG itself - the (c) copyright - and the copyright to the specific RECORDING of that song - the (p) copyright. If you record your own versions of the songs you're only violating the one copyright on the SONG, and one might be able to argue that a CCLI license covers your use of the SONG, but not a commercially released RECORDING of the song.
Well, okay, two things: even if Paul Baloche offers leadsheets for many of his songs for free download, the copyright on most of Paul's songs is owned by Integrity Hosanna Music. So unless Paul has made some special arrangements with Integrity, his free downloads of leadsheets do NOT give you the right to copy his CDs...
As Rick said, you've hit just about every copyright hot button for worship leaders, because most of your questions are not really resolved - at least they're not resolved in a way that lets worship leaders do what they need to with the songs and recordings...
We have a "group" here called "Copyright and Publishing Protection for Spirited Songwriters and Composers" - the guy who started it faded away pretty quickly, and it hasn't had a lot of action because most of us who are over there have more questions than answers. It would be great if you could participate in that group and maybe help us hash out some semi-definitive answers to these various copyright-related questions.
I checked out your white paper and it looks like you guys know what you're doing :-) The explanation of song copyrights and performance copyrights was good, it even agreed with what I'd posted here before :-)
I also took a look at the PermissionsPlus site that's linked from the white paper. Some questions on that - one, is there a way to set up an account for less than $150? Maybe a "starter account" that churches could use to see how the service works? Also, roughly how many songs / recordings could we push through for that $150? If I wanted to create a rehearsal CD with 20 commonly-used worship songs (no weird stuff that takes a lot of rehearsal), how much of my $150 labor costs would that eat up?
One other question - do you have a similar site that would address copyright clearance for schools? I know of a school that uses published music in their shows - the last one had songs from Les Mis and Aida - and I don't think they're doing anything about copyrights or royalties. In addition to doing the shows, I'm shooting videos for them and they're selling the videos to parents and students, and, again, I'm not aware that they're doing anything about paying royalties.
If you'd like to take up this discussion over in the copyright group, join up over there and let's talk :-)
I checked on whether or not you can legally stream mp3s on a password protected site - the short answer, "no you can't, not without the proper permissions." Here is an email response from Chris at Christain Copyright Solutions.
"I understand that you wanted to know if you could stream mp3s on a password protected site. You can, with the rather stringent restriction that only the original purchaser of the music may access those files. The law allows you to make copies of your music for your own personal use. It does not allow you to share these copies, even via streaming, without the payment of additional royalties.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get those permissions. We are working on a solution, but have not developed on yet.
I hope this was helpful and please let me know if I can provide more detail."
Thanks for all your help! I adopt the stringent rules usually, but the practice CD is one thing I struggle with. Small churches just can't afford to pay even a dollar for each copy of the song for each person. CCLI sent me a survey that said they were trying to work on a solution, so I look forward to hearing it once they do. Thanks!
We don't copy CDs but instead have our own website where we post links to youTube and other songs. That way we are not making copies of anything but the band can all listen to the same version for practicing.
I suppose that means we are condoning the fact that others have breached copyright if they have uploaded the songs illegally? Is it illegal for us to watch them?
I've found the details about copyright matters to be daunting. Here's a blog post I found that gives a quick rundown of 3 services that help churches handle use of copyright materials in church, namely CCLI, CVLI (for videos), and Christian Copyright Solutions:
Hey everyone, just thought I'd update this discussion, as I know many of us still struggle with the issue of making practice cds for our teams.
Last week I took part in a CCLI Copyright Owner's annual meeting via the web, and in that meeting CCLI announced that they are finally coming out with a Rehearsal License, which will "provide churches with a license to make audio reference copies of song recordings for rehearsal purposes". (the quote in bold is from the powerpoint slide that CCLI used in their presentation to copyright owners, of which I am one)
This license is to be available in January 2011. In response to my questions, they further elaborated that this will cover creating practice CDs, e-mailing mp3 files to band members, posting mp3 files on a password-protected resource website, etc - basically all the methods covered in the questionnaire they sent out last year on this subject.
So finally we have a "legal" solution to this problem. Great news!