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Frequently Asked Questions Topics:
Do I need a licence to score music by hand?
Scoring copyright music by hand would require permission from the copyright holders. The Church Copyright Licence covers customised instrumental arrangements of music compositions provided that no published version is available. All aspects of the music, apart from the instrumentation, must remain unchanged. The original copy must have been purchased by the church/school or a church/staff member.
Can we use a song on a video that we are making?
Recording a song onto a video requires two permissions: 1) from the song’s copyright owner, and 2) from the label owner of the commercial recording.
How do churches calculate their size category or average attendance?
Size categories are determined by the regular attendance of your main weekly worship service. If you offer more than one main service to accommodate your entire congregation, the category size would equal the total attendance of these services combined. For more information contact us.
How does copyright affect small house groups not linked to a church?
An independent house group would require a licence if they are reproducing song words and/or music for leading worship.
If a copyright line says 'all rights reserved' can I reproduce it?
licence holders can reproduce authorised songs according to the guidelines of the licence, even if the copyright line read ‘all rights reserved’.
Can one licence be used for a group of churches?
No. Each church needs to secure their own licence. There are discounts available, however, for an affiliated group of churches. Contact us for more information.
How do I find the copyright year?
The copyright year would usually be printed at the bottom or top of the song in a songbook. Alternatively, if the song is covered by CCLI, you can use our SongSearch facility.
I translate English songs into another language, do I need to do anything about copyright?
The Church Copyright Licence covers the translation of a covered song’s lyrics from the original published version into a preferred language where no published version is available and is exclusively for use in church worship services.
Can we project text from Bibles, e.g. New International Version and New Revised Standard Version?
We suggest that you refer to the title page which would advise of this. If in doubt we suggest you contact the Publisher of the Bible.
Would our Church Copyright Licence cover a small Bible study group held outside of the main church venue, e.g. in a home?
Yes. The Copyright Licence covers all church related ministries.
I would like to write an additional verse for an existing song and perform the entire song with the new verse at our church. Is this legal?
If the song still has copyright protection, then you would need to contact the Copyright Owner for permission. If the song is in the Public Domain then you may add extra verses.
What is Public Domain?
Public Domain songs are songs that are no longer protected by copyright law. As such, you do not need permission to copy and use the songs.
Would a licence be required to sing from hymnbooks or songbooks during worship services?
A licence would not be required unless the copyrighted songs were being projected or duplicated.
With the CCLI Copyright Licence, are we allowed to reproduce songs and music downloaded from websites?
Unfortunately there are many websites illegally offering lyric and music downloads, so we would recommend caution before using sites. If you are downloading from an authorised company these can be reported in the usual manner. You may be interested in the CCLI SongSelect® subscription service, which enables churches to download lyrics and transposable chord sheets, lead sheets and vocal sheets.
Can we use YouTube® videos in church?
We recommend caution when using video content from sites such as YouTube. YouTube’s general restrictions on use state; “you agree not to access User Videos for any reason other than your personal, non-commercial use solely as intended through and permitted by the normal functionality of the Services”. However, they also state that you may show a video publicly with the prior written consent of the owner and where the video has been uploaded by an authorised source.
Can we upload our services to our church website via a free podcast or stream them live?
You may upload sermons to the internet provided they don’t contain any copyright material, and you have the permission of any speakers or contributors.
Can I record when commercial sound recordings are being played?
The recording provision for the Church Copyright Licence does not allow for re-recording commercial sound recordings, including background tracks for soloists. To be covered by this licence, only live music may be recorded.
- Can we record our services if they include live music?
We would like to make a CD of live performances to sell as a way of fundraising for the church. What licence would we require?
CCLI does not currently provide a licence for this activity.
Can we charge for CDs, DVDs or Blu-rays of church services?
Yes, the Church Copyright Licence covers this provided the only music you include is played live and is not from a sound recording. These recordings may only be made in limited number for non-commercial purposes. You may charge up to $4 each for audio cassette tapes and CDs, and $12 each for DVDs.
I want to use a song for the soundtrack of a video that our church is creating. Does the CCLI Copyright Licence cover that?
If we use the same photocopies of songs that we copied in a previous licence period, do I need to report them again?
No. You need only report each time a song is reproduced.
My Verification email didn’t arrive
You will be sent a verification email when you create your User Account with a link that you must click within 24 hours to complete the sign-up process. If you haven’t received this email it’s likely that it got caught in your junk mail filter, so please check there first. Then, if you still haven’t received it, please contact us.
A song we reproduced doesn't come up in the search results. Why can't I find it?
If a song is covered by the Church Copyright Licence it is called authorised. There are a small number of popular and regularly sung songs which are not covered by the CCLI Copyright Licences and these are referred to as Unauthorised. The Online Reporting website features all songs authorised under the Copyright Licence. If you can’t find the song you wish to report, it could mean a couple different things. The song information may not yet be submitted to CCLI by the publisher, or it may mean that you have reproduced an unauthorised song. In each case there is no need for you to report any activity. Please note, however, that permission to reproduce unauthorised songs must be obtained directly from the publisher.
Why does my search return so many results and how do I know I've selected the right song from the list?
Unfortunately, songwriters don’t always choose unique titles for their songs, and there can often be several versions/arrangements of the same song by different authors. This can cause some challenges when trying to report a specific song. The ‘Best Match’ feature is there to help, showing the most common titles first. If you find multiple results with that same song title, please check the names of the authors and copyright information to determine which song you need to report against.
TIP: If you click on a song title in the list of search results it will display further information about that song including the author, catalogue and copyright details, lyric preview and often a sound sample too.
- How do I find more help?
The person set up as our Account Administrator has left. How do I change this?
Only the Administrator can add or remove users and change who the Account Administrator is. If this person is no longer around, please contact us.
I’ve made a mistake, can I go back and change it?
You can amend your reports for a limited time only. If you try to amend your reports and can’t, this is because CCLI has closed off the data for that period in order to administer a payout to song owners.
Can I still complete my report at the end of my licence period?
We recommend that you report as you go. With Online Reporting you can assign as many users as you need to your account. This means that everyone who reproduces songs or makes copies can take responsibility for reporting. But if you find yourself in a situation where you have not reported weekly, yes, at the end of a reporting period you can still complete your reporting activities.
How do I know how many times we’ve already reported a song?
By clicking the Reporting Activity button in Online Reporting you can view and edit the details of all the songs you’ve reported within the current period.
Do I need to Report even though I don’t have any copy activity?
Yes, it’s important to still report. To do so, simply log in on the Online Reporting website and click ‘Nothing to Report Today’.
When does a song become public domain (PD)?
Copyright protection lasts for 70 years following the death of the last surviving author.
What acknowledgments should I give when displaying song words?
Under the words of each song reproduced you are required to include the following: “[author], © [year, owner], [your licence number]” e.g. Fred Smiley, © 2007 Happy Music Ltd., CCL No, 123456
- How can I tell if a song is covered by my Church Copyright Licence?
Where can I find the latest list of Song Owners and/or Publishers covered by my CCLI Copyright Licences?
You’ll find lists of the publishers, catalogues and producers for our licences on our Authorised Lists page.
Can I photocopy the words of songs under my Church Copyright Licence?
The Church Copyright Licence permits you to photocopy song lyrics from a master that you have made yourself. However, it does not permit you to make copies from typeset publications or files. A separate copyright exists in typography, so permission should be obtained from the publisher of the publication before making copies of any pages within it. Copyright information can often be found within the opening pages of music publications and songbooks.
Can I reproduce songs if the owner is unknown?
CCLI cannot give permission to reproduce any material of which the copyright owner cannot be traced. If you reproduce these songs it is at your own discretion, and you must be prepared to pay royalties if the owner becomes known at a later date.
We would like to make our own songbook. Can we do this under our Church/School Copyright Licence? How do we report these?
The Church Copyright Licence permits you to print authorised song words in a ‘home-made’ songbook for use by your congregation. Each song would need to be reported once under PRINT. You don’t need to report the use of these printed books again, regardless of how long you keep them. However, if you add additional songs or print additional copies of your book, these should then be reported once under PRINT.
If I write new words to an existing, copyright-protected tune, do I need permission from the tune's copyright holder?
Yes. You should contact the copyright owner if you would like to use different words with their tune.
Our church has a Church Copyright Licence. Would I be allowed to adapt the words of a hymn?
The Church Copyright Licence does not allow you to change the words of a hymn; only to reproduce the lyrics. If you wish to make any changes to a copyrighted work we would advise you contact the copyright owner directly.
Do we need a licence with CCLI to make an enlarged copy of song words?
Yes, any duplication of copyrighted songs needs permission. The Church Copyright Licence provides the permission for our authorised songs to be duplicated for the purpose of assisting the congregation.
We no longer have CCLI licences. Do we need to destroy copies of song words or music we made at the time we had the licence(s)?
Yes. If you no longer have licence cover, you cease to exercise any right to use the copies and they should be destroyed.
- Do I need permission to download songs legally?
- Do I need to report the songs I download from SongSelect®?
Is there a limit to how many songs I can download?
SongSelect® Basic has no download limit. SongSelect Advanced and Premium allow you to download/print sheet music for up to 200 distinct songs per year. Additional songs can be purchased in increments of 50 upon request. However upon renewal any downloads left over would be lost.
Can I upgrade part way through the year?
Yes. Please contact us for more details.
- Does SongSelect® link up with my projection software package?
How can additional users be added on our church's SongSelect® account?
Additional users can only be added by your account Administrator(s). An Administrator can invite you to the account by using the tab “Link user to the Account.”
- Do I need a CCLI Copyright Licence to purchase SongSelect®?
What is a unique download?
A unique download would be one individual song. A church would have 200 downloads per licence period. If a song is printed off in a different key or if multiple copies are printed of the same song, this would still only count as one unique download.
How many users does SongSelect® permit?
Your church can have unlimited users on SongSelect® and they can access SongSelect from any web device. Each user will need to create their own personal CCLI Profile account and log in details and then they will be able to link to the church account.
How much does it cost to register songs with CCLI?
There is no charge to register songs with CCLI. Please complete our Copyright Administration form to request a Song Owner Agreement Pack or for further information.
What rights do I have over my work?
Copyright Law provides 6 exclusive rights to copyright owners: (1) reproduction, (2) adaptation, (3) distribution, (4) performance, (5) display and (6)digital sound recording. These 6 exclusive rights protect the owner in two ways. The first is economic, giving the owner the right to charge any person who wishes to copy, perform or record their work for any commercial or non-commercial use. The second is moral, protecting the work from any use or arrangement that is contrary to the wishes of the copyright owner.
Who can I contact to get my songs published?
CCLI is unable to recommend any particular publisher to you. The contact details for numerous music publishers, whom you may wish to contact directly, can be found on the authorised Administrator List.
I write songs. How do I go about copyrighting them?
Under the current Copyright Law, a newly-written song is protected from the moment that it is written down or recorded in some physical or tangible format. Songs do not have to be registered in anyway to have copyright protection.
Once a song is registered with CCLI, how does the author of the work get paid?
CCLI pays out royalties to registered song owners based on the copy activity reports from our licence holding churches and other organisations.
Do copyright holders disappear from your list if no one uses their work?
Our database includes over 300,000+ songs. Copyright holders are not deleted from our database, even if there is no copy activity reported.
How can I register with CCLI?
To become a registered Copyright Owner with CCLI, you need to complete our Owner Agreement. Please contact our Intellectual Property Department by completing our Copyright Administration form.