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Copyright Considerations for Live Streaming

This page covers information for churches about copyright for live stream.

What licenses do you need?

Depending on the song or video, you will need one or more of these licenses to legally stream a song or video in your worship video. Find out more in the FAQ section below the video tutorials on this page.

Videos about CCLI Streaming and Copyright license

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Conference pay for the Church Video License?

No. There are several other products available from CCLI. The Conference pays for the Copyright license and the Streaming license from CCLI only.

If we have more than one streaming license, which one do we show after each song?

Only list the company where you intend to report the use of the song.

Where do we show the copyright information for each song during worship live stream?

According to CCLI, the copyright and streaming license should be shown for the specific song and rendition as a slide immediately after each song. It is not necessary and does not fulfill the contract obligations to group them all together at the end of the worship live stream.

Does the copyright license cover all songs?

No, the CCLI copyright license only covers the songs found on the ccli.com website. You can search for songs in the Song Select search option on the ccli.com home page.

Does the copyright license cover all the songs in our hymnal?

No, the CCLI copyright license covers many of the songs in the various UMC hymnals, but not all the songs. 

How can I find out if a song is covered in our license?

Go to https://us.ccli.com/ and search for your song in the “Search for song, author or lyrics…” search box near the middle of the web page. If the song is listed, it is covered by the CCLI license. You can also find public domain songs at https://songselect.ccli.com/. If you don’t have a Song Select license, only the public domain songs will appear in the search at songselect.ccli.com. If you do have a Song Select license, you’ll be able to search for all the songs included in your license in addition to the public domain songs.

Do I have to search for EVERY song we use on the CCLI website?

Yes. The only way to confirm the songs selected for the worship service are covered under the CCLI copyright or streaming license is by searching for the songs in Song Select on the ccli.com website.

The Conference pays for our CCLI license, does that mean we can safely stream songs found on the CCLI website?

No. As of October 15, 2020, the Desert Southwest Conference is providing a copyright license for all of the DSC churches. That license does not include permission to stream songs online or include them on your church website. You need a streaming license for that and the Conference is working towards purchasing streaming licenses for every DSC church.

Some churches use a different license number for every song. Why do we only use one license number?

When a song is not covered under the ccli.com copyright or streaming license, churches might purchase a single-use license for a specific song. That license number would only cover that song. A couple of popular sites that are used for this purpose that includes a video performance are https://www.sermonspice.com and https://www.worshiphousemedia.com. When you purchase a music video for streaming purposes, be sure to include the web license.

Do we have to report which songs we use?

Weekly reporting is ideal. Find details about reporting for each license here: https://us.ccli.com/reporting/ CCLI will contact your church when it is your church’s turn to report your copy activity for six months. However, there are other reporting requirements, so check out the link to find information about your license reporting requirements.

Can we include YouTube performance videos in our worship stream?

To use a YouTube video legally:

  1. The performance recording must be from the official copyright owner’s YouTube channel.
  2. Obtain written permission from the copyright owner.
  3. Ensure the song is also included in your own copyright/streaming license.

According to YouTube’s terms of service, videos should only be accessed for “personal, non-commercial use” (5.L.) except where “YouTube or the respective licensors [the copyright owner] of the content” has given “prior written consent” (5.M.).

Can we include YouTube lyric videos in our worship stream?

If the YouTube video includes audio or video performance from the official band, follow the steps below AND request written permission from the lyrics video creator to use the video in your worship stream.

  1. The performance recording must be from the official copyright owner’s YouTube channel.
  2. Obtain written permission from the copyright owner.
  3. Ensure the song is also covered in your own streaming license.

According to YouTube’s terms of service, videos should only be accessed for “personal, non-commercial use” (5.L.) except where “YouTube or the respective licensors [the copyright owner] of the content” has given “prior written consent” (5.M.).

If the YouTube video includes audio or video performance from a church band, obtain written permission from the church to use the lyrics video AND ensure the song is also covered in your own streaming license.

Can we include YouTube videos in our worship stream that don't include songs?

You can use videos from other sources if you have written permission from the content creator (the copyright owner) of the video or purchased a license to use the video for live stream. If you didn’t create the video, you need written permission to use it in your church’s live stream or your church’s website.

According to YouTube’s terms of service, videos should only be accessed for “personal, non-commercial use” (5.L.) except where “YouTube or the respective licensors [the copyright owner] of the content” has given “prior written consent” (5.M.).

If I have written permission or purchased a license for a video to stream it, when I upload a video to YouTube, should I indicate that I'm using copyright content?

Yes. In some cases, even if you’ve purchased the license to stream a performance or lyric video as part of your worship video, YouTube can mandate that your worship video allow advertising so that the copyright owners can receive a share of the ad revenue. If you don’t allow advertising, you could get dinged for a copyright violation.

Where in the video should I include the CCLI copyright and streaming license?

The CCLI License number should appear at the beginning or the end of the music performance. We recommend that you include it in the video description when uploading to YouTube.

Can a church with the proper copyright streaming license give permission to a second church to use their video?

No. One church cannot transfer their license or rights to a second church. The second church can use the video recorded by the first church only if the second church also has the proper copyright streaming license for the song performance. Also, the second church’s copyright streaming license must replace the first church’s license information in the video and the video description.

Are there any copyright issues with images used in live streaming?

If your organization purchased an image online to use in your worship video (including the background for a song), you should be ok to use the image in your live stream. However, read through your user agreement carefully. Some image sites offer basic licenses that only allow you to use the image for a limited amount of time or for a limited purpose. You may have to purchase a different license for live streaming that creates an online archive. If you are not sure what your site allows, read through their license agreement or terms of service in the legal section.

If you are using a video (with written permission) that someone else created and the video includes purchased images, you cannot use the video without purchasing the images as well with the proper license. One person or organization cannot transfer or extend their image license to another individual.

If the image used in the video is copyright-free or public domain, you can use the image in a video.

Facebook Live is cutting off videos that do not follow copyright guidelines. What do I need to do to ensure I am complying with Facebook's requirements?

There are several steps and considerations to ensure your church is not violating copyright laws. On occasion, even if you’ve followed all the rules, your video may get dinged if someone has reported your content as a copyright violation. Below are some links to Facebook’s FAQ on this subject.

Where can I find instructions like this about One License?

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