airing church service on televison, concerned about church s

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums Specialty Topics Worship Video airing church service on televison, concerned about church s

Viewing 10 reply threads
  • Author
    • #46506

      Do you need permission to air choir singing the church songs? That could be a copyright issue because the choir performs songs written by other people.

    • #191727

      The best answer is…it depends.

      Most classic hymns are not covered by copyright, and you can do whatever you want with them.

      Newer songs, the ones your church needs a CCLI license to display the power point words for, are still copyrighted. However, depending on how you define "fair use", a few of these songs can be included on a video if they relate to the Pastor’s sermon or the general message.

      However, you can get a license to play any song on TV. IT’s a royalty system. It’s not expensive, and I think that it’s really cheap if you’re only broadcasting on a local public access station.

    • #191729

      How ironic!

      Here you have the authors of these Hymns whose intent is to reach out to all of the people to spread the word of God and yet there could be limitations on spreading that word because of legal reasons. Whats wrong with that picture?

      Also, if there were copyright issues then the choirs who sing other authors music are in violation too.

      Its not like youre taking the choirs rendition of these songs, making a DVD and then sell them for a profit. To me there is where you could get into some trouble.

      If it were me, I would just record and air the music as it happens because after all, what was this music originally intended for anyway? Im sure the various authors know why and thats why they created them.


    • #191728


      Musical copyrights don’t cover live performances. That’s how so many local bands can legally do shows where they cover the hits of popular artists. In the same sense, a choir or praise team can "perform" any song they want to do live without worries.

      Where things get sticky is where text gets involved, or when you record an event. For example, when a church shows words to music on a screen, if the music has a current copyright, they are supposed to obtain a CCLI license to display the words. This license is very inexpensive, and I believe it’s free or almost free for small churches even. It’s more of a method to ensure the writer(s) get credit. None of the popular praise bands out there are getting rich from CCLI rights.

      When you broadcast music, or even display it, you always have the legal gray area of "fair use". Technically, a church could probably get away displaying the words to a copyrighted song without a CCLI if they creditied the author and used the argument that it’s fair use, as it relates to the worship. Fair use can even be used on TV, though unless it’s live TV, it’s really stepping into the darker shades of the gray area created by fair use.

      However, saying that, you should also keep in mind that most of the worship performing artists frely give their music out to churches for use. While I was in the position of directing the video for my church in Omaha, one of my best friends, who was the lighting director, built a controller to simultaneously manage a dozen I-beams and cyber lights, "smart lights" that usually require you to buy a seperate controller for each light. Anyway, while he was in the process of patenting his idea, he wanted to give a demonstration of it to the local lighting professionals in the Omaha area, and he wanted to time the lighting to a Joy Electric song. He contacted the manager for Joy Electric (a Christian Techno/Synth group) and they sent him not only the permission to do it, but also an autographed CD and a couple other goodies.

      Now, not all bands and performers will be this charitable, but it never hurts to ask. If they say no to letting you use their material for free, they will likely be very reasonable.

      Personally, I would just give a call to one of the larger churches in your area and ask them. If they don’t have the answer, call a local lawyer. Many lawyers will give you free advice on a subject like this. Again, like I said, there’s nothing wrong with broadcasting every classic hymn in the book. They’re all public domain. But if you’re doing new stuff, at least ask before you use it. You might be suprised at the generousity of the ones you do ask.

    • #191730


      I was more or less referring to the old traditional red or green Hymnal tucked in the racks behind the pews.

      Still however, I just think it’s funny that it’s OK for a group to preform the music live in front of 1000 people but it’s not OK to tape the same group and preformance and show it to the same 1000 people who are now sitting at home watching it on TV. Mind you I’m not arguing with you at all, I just think it’s ironic how we create this ridiculous web and then we try and live in it.

      As for the newer stuff I would have to agree with you. Unfortunately our money orientated legalistic society has taken a different path when it comes to the newer religious music and how its applied or spread towards the masses. I wonder what the Big Guy upstairs thinks about all that. πŸ™‚


    • #191731

      I’m sure that in the end, He’ll have a very special message for those who would seek to profit off ministry πŸ˜‰

    • #191732

      Actually you are supposed to seek permision to perform any copyrighted music. It is just the same as broadcasting it. The record companies just havent started suing people for it yet.

    • #191733

      You’re probably correct on the legal stance, videolab. However, like you said, the odds of being sued for it are slim to none. The fact is that if you don’t record the event at all, then the only way for someone who likes the music to get it again is to buy it themselves, or steal it off the Internet, which is the field that ASCAP and others are trying to cut off right now.

      As far as whether they’ll start suing, it depends on the situation. I know that in big cities like San Fransisco and New York, ASCAP requires bar owners to hold a copyright license to cover bands. In most mid-to-small towns, it’s not a big deal.

      You also need to keep in mind that Christian labels who aren’t under the rule of the larger companies are often a lot more lax on their copyrights. As I said before, sometimes just writing them a letter will get your permission for a small crowd, and it’s literally only a few cents per song to buy the distribution rights.

      Like I said, the best advice is to ask around. Contact the recording labels, as well as the other local churches.

      The more I think about this though, the more I’m starting to think that contacting the CCLI would be a good idea. If your church alrady has a CCLI license, and if the market you’re presenting the video on is small enough, the CCLI license might cover your preformance. If not, they’ll have the answer you need.

      Log in to or call them at 1-800-234-2446. Let us know what you come up with.

      Yeah, it might be that nobody will notice, care, or question you guys, but wouldn’t if be nice to be legal? πŸ™‚

    • #191734

      Thanks soo much for all the advice. I will definetly call CCLI to check with them. I would like to use one of the songs that the choir sings during the opening. I more than likely won’t videotape all the songs the choirs and praise team sing.

      Once again THANKS a bunch. It’s ALWAYS really nice when people actually respond to your posts.

      πŸ˜€ X-D

    • #191735

      In most cases you need to purchase a license just to sing the songs in public during a church service.

      If your church does not have a license to perform the songs then they are already illegal.

      Here is a good CCLI article about the subject

      Click to access Fact_File_Music-Performance.pdf

    • #191736
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      The songs are either public domain or the church is licensed. You’ll want release forms from the performers and any speakers you feature.

      When I worked at TBN, this was all taken care of by their agents before hand.

Viewing 10 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Best Products

The best tripods for video β€” 2021

Carefully comparing and reviewing system specs will ultimately help you find the best tripod to fit your needs and your budget.