Copyright - are you doing it correctly in your church? 

The rules around which licences a church needs to play songs and hymns on Zoom via YouTube clips; reading passages out of the Bible; reading poems; sharing images and so on are very complex.

Synod does not have the answer to your copyright questions as the area is so huge and complex and we would hate to give you the wrong answer, but we can signpost you to various organisations who should be able to make your journey clearer. 

We ran a Zoom copyright information session in Autumn 2021. 

Please read through the notes from that meeting here (Word), taken by Dan Morrell, of Media for Ministry. 

You can watch the recording on YouTube here.

CCLI (Christian Copyright Licence International) says this:

‘The heightened accessibility offered by the internet, coupled with major advances in technology, means that churches now have access to a vast range of music, video and creative works for use in their services and activities. But the issues related to copyright are complicated, and legal compliance can be confusing.

'How does my church or organisation protect itself? First off, by honouring the copyright laws that apply in your country. CCLI can help. With the proper copyright licences, churches, organisations and schools are legally covered to show films, play or perform music, download songs or lyrics, and copy, reproduce, and distribute the words and images contained within. All the while saving administrative time, expense and effort.’

Here's a link to the CCLI website and if you choose to ring them the staff are very helpful:

And this CCLI link about copyright and the internet is very useful:

One Licence 

One Licence is another organisation which holds licences for various songs/hymns etc and their website link is:

Other helpful resources

Worship Lyric Videos has videos has high quality free copyright images has Christian based images

Music has stock music

YouTube Audio Library

YouTube - beware!

If using videos from YouTube, you will need to check permissions for:

  • who owns the picture(s)
  • who owns the lyrics 
  • and also who owns the music.
It is recommended you do not use YouTube in public settings unless you have permission from all three of the above.

If using YouTube for livestreaming, in church services, fundraising events or group events ie youth clubs, then you may also need the following licences from CCLI:

  • Church Copyright Licence
  • Streaming or Streaming plus Licence
  • Music Reproduction Licence (for sharing sheet music digitally)

All the licence costs and usage can be found on the CCLI website.