Not sure if you have the same system through the rest of the world, but in the UK we are supposed to report our activities in using copyrighted songs through an organisation called CCLI.  Broadly speaking, I like this organisation... they provide a means whereby songwriters actually get some reward for the songs they write, and which we use.  All well and good.

But...

We used to report songs using a software tool called Copyreport.  This worked nicely.... if you used a particular song during the year then you ticked a box for making copies, a box for printing words, and a box for having projected the words.  Nice and easy... all done for that song for that year... one tickbox for each song.  But now - aaargh - they've switched to a web based tool and, boy, do they want detail!  Each time you print, or project, or record a song, they want to know about it.  If you make copies, they want to know exactly how many.  If you dowload the sheet music for a song, email it to 4 other musicians, and everyone (including yourself) prints out a copy, then you need to say that's 9 copies (one for each emailing activity, one for each printout).

I can see the admin side of my role has just got an awful lot more time consuming :-(

Anyone else in the UK (or elsewhere) discovered the new system, or similar, yet?

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Well, okay, to play devil's advocate a little bit... one option would be that everybody just pays CCLI for a license, there's no reporting, Chris Tomlin gets all the money and we're all happy.  Another would be that we just report the (CCLI-covered) songs we use each week in the worship service; this could include creating, printing, projecting, recording... but it basically comes down to "yeah, we did Oceans this week, so one 'use' of that one."

I suspect that a lot of the way CCLI works traces back to the things that (US) copyright laws say the holder is entitled to.  So they don't actually ask which songs you performed in your worship service, because that's a "fair use" thing, you're allowed to do that.  But if you make a recording of the song, if you copy or project song lyrics... US copyright law says that one way or another you're supposed to get permission and/or pay for that.

A couple things to be thankful for, at least: one, CCLI only makes a given church report for six months out of every three years or something (did you take that into account in your math?).  So it's only painful when it's your turn, sorta like jury duty... two, the annual license fee is just based on the size of the congregation.  Imagine if it was like, "aw, nuts, I forgot about those six times we sang 'Hosanna' last year, we need to file an amended report and send in a check for an additional 19 cents" (or whatever your equivalent of the widow's mite might be).  And, obviously, having CCLI beats having to contact all the individual publishers ourselves.

The last time we had a report period I decided to create and print all new chord charts, even for songs we weren't actively using, and report that so that our report included all the songs we've been using.  I could have, though, gotten ahead of the curve on all that work, not run the recorder on the service, and just reported "projections" - which corresponds to reporting our active setlists.  "Nope, we didn't actually create any new digital files or print anything during our reporting period."

Of the various activities you described in your examples, the ones that have to do with reporting every time the bass player prints out a chord chart from a .pdf file, that's the part that seems most difficult for me.  I don't know what printing activity the people in our band do at home... that's the one I'd complain about.  Reasonable: we obtained (or created) a .pdf chord chart for this song, that's one "digital" activity.  We printed a copy for everybody in the worship band, that's one print activity (or ten actual prints).  Some of the band members may have printed out extra copies to use to practice at home, I don't know what they did, and it's that having to keep track of what everybody else did that would be the big time killer.

And, actually, if you multiplied person hours by "typical" WL salary, it might well come out closer to zero than to ten million pounds :-(.

But good luck, do push back on them a bit.  From their perspective, they're trying to divide up the royalty money fairly (and there are probably songwriters and publishers pushing on them for even more data collection, thinking that their song is being underpaid because...).  And let us know if you get any response.

Charles:

In the UK, CCLI makes each church report for each and every week of every year!  We don't have that 6 months in every 3 years system.

But, thankyou for getting me thinking.  I reckon it would be very acceptable for CCLI to use statistical sampling...  in fact, I think they could get a good level of accuracy by simply asking each church to report for one week each year (or 5 weeks, if they were wanting really good data).  To give some examples, assuming each chuch reports for just one week per year...

  - If a song is used 520 times around the whole nation during a year, then it will be recorded around 10 times (give or take).  The error in this sampling is typically around 30%, so royalties for that individual song might be off by 30% that year.

- If a song is used 5200 times, then it will be recorded around 100 times in the sample.  The error is about 10%.

- If a song is used 52000 times, it will appear in the sample around 1000 times, with an error of about 3% in the royalty payment.

Errors should balance out over a number of years....

The trouble with the current system is that it is trying to determine whether (for example) Matt Redman’s “10000 reasons” has been displayed or printed 1,541,615, or 1,541,616 times in a year.  That level of accuracy is simply not necessary in determining the appropriate level of royalties that Matt should receive.

Daniel,

Personally I resent CCLI because I believe they (and certain families here in the U.S.) have placed a strangle hold on the Christian music industry. Because of this family, many very talented song writers can't get published because they don't know "the right people" and I'm not convinced that CCLI is making sure that the proper royalty fees are being paid to the songwriters who actually DO make it to the CCLI list. I'm certainly not against someone being paid for their hard work, however, it seems we have taken a page from the world's book. Many of the songs I use in our Sunday services are written by local people who couldn't care less about making a buck or two, but just want to express their love and gratitude toward the Savior.

It seems to me that a better way to handle this would be to add an additional fee onto the purchase of a song. Say for example I purchase a worship song from musicnotes.com. Instead of paying $.5.25 (US), I pay an additional fee (1 or 2 dollars) and this gives me the right to project the lyrics in my church. Seems like a fairer system to me. Then CCLI can keep their spies at home. :)

Hi Stephanie

Certainly the Christian Music Industry is an "industry", which means it is driven very much by economic factors (as well as, one would hope, some Godly factors).  There are definitely problems with this industry. And there is definitely a link between CCLI and the industry.... for certain the changes in the reporting requests are being driven by the industry.

And CCLI have a total monopoly - which gives them a lot of power, backed up by the letter of the law. This is probably not healthy, and it means that when they say "jump" we are more or less legally obliged to jump. 

And, also, I know about the frustrations of good songwriters whose songs don't used beyond their local church.  We also use a lot of home grown songs, many of them my own.  I suspect there are thousands of such songwriters out there.  As with all industries, the songwriters who "make it" are lucky, or in the right place at the right time, or know the right people.  Probably it is best to be philosophical about this....  the industry does at least produce some good songs, and we do get to sing them.

I'm not sure your "additional fee" solution works.... I can see the point, but very often (as Toni says above) we just get the words off the internet, work out the chords for ourselves, put the song up on the projector, and away we go.  No money changed hands as yet... but the songwriter still has a right, if they want to exercise that right.  At least the CCLI system gives them a possibility of getting a little bit of cash for their work, and I'm happy to be on board with that.

But CCLI are being very, very silly with their reporting requests....

Stephanie Aguilar said:

Daniel,

Personally I resent CCLI because I believe they (and certain families here in the U.S.) have placed a strangle hold on the Christian music industry. Because of this family, many very talented song writers can't get published because they don't know "the right people" and I'm not convinced that CCLI is making sure that the proper royalty fees are being paid to the songwriters who actually DO make it to the CCLI list. I'm certainly not against someone being paid for their hard work, however, it seems we have taken a page from the world's book. Many of the songs I use in our Sunday services are written by local people who couldn't care less about making a buck or two, but just want to express their love and gratitude toward the Savior.

It seems to me that a better way to handle this would be to add an additional fee onto the purchase of a song. Say for example I purchase a worship song from musicnotes.com. Instead of paying $.5.25 (US), I pay an additional fee (1 or 2 dollars) and this gives me the right to project the lyrics in my church. Seems like a fairer system to me. Then CCLI can keep their spies at home. :)

I think it is a good move ahead by CCLI. It may be a bit complicated at the moment since this is new to them, but until now it has been impossible to report on digital reproductions of sheet music.

The options previously for music were 'Print' or 'Photocopy'. No options for 'digital display'.

They have recognised this and have now brought their reporting up to date.

I have still to submit this year's copy report but I am encouraged by the fact that they have finally listened to those of us who have been asking for years to update their system to take into account digital display of music as well as printed paper.

(PS I am in the UK)

Hi Brenda

I'm going to report at some point on how far I got (not very) with writing to them.  But, yes, one of the drivers for the new system is publishers wanting more information on how much electronic files are emailed around before printing.  To be honest, I think using the reporting system to answer that question is like getting a sledgehammer to crack a nut.  CCLI could have asked a few questions, which would have taken licence holders only 2 minutes to complete:

 a) For electronically downloaded music, typically how many band members do you email the files to, and how many copies are printed?  How many digital display devices do you have?

b) For music photocopied from books, how many copies are typically made?

I can't see that the publishers need any more information than that, and (in truth) I can't see that the new, complicated system is going to provide any more information than that.

But, you say that you have been asking CCLI whether you can report more?  Are you crazy? Don't you have anything better to do with your time?  Anyway, the big change is not "whether there is a new tickbox for digital display" (which is what you asked for) but they want to know how many digital displays you use for each song.  I'm not sure whether you need to report each and every time you port a song to a digital display..... but one interpretation of their wording would be that if you have four digital display devices for sheet music, each time you "copy" the sheet music onto that digital display device then you will need to report that "copying" activity.  I think you will be doing a lot of reporting....

Brenda Cameron said:

I think it is a good move ahead by CCLI. It may be a bit complicated at the moment since this is new to them, but until now it has been impossible to report on digital reproductions of sheet music.

The options previously for music were 'Print' or 'Photocopy'. No options for 'digital display'.

They have recognised this and have now brought their reporting up to date.

I have still to submit this year's copy report but I am encouraged by the fact that they have finally listened to those of us who have been asking for years to update their system to take into account digital display of music as well as printed paper.

(PS I am in the UK)

Howdy--

Although CCLI certainly is digging in and trying to find out info in order to pay copyright holders of their record, they are not backed up and mandated by U.S. Copyright law (not sure about the U.K.).  They are simply stepping in where there was a void.  Another company could come in and do the same.  Churches are exempt from paying royalty monies for performance of copyrighted works, but are not exempt from the other rights of a copyright holder (all rights listed):

  1. Reproduction: simply put, “copying” lyrics, tunes or melodies, digitally or on paper
  2. Adaptation: changing it into something new, a derivative work
  3. Distribution: making it available through channels for sale, lease, or lending
  4. Performance: presenting the work to a public audience (churches are exempt)
  5. Display: showing the graphics or visuals related to a work
  6. Recording: playing back or sharing a recording of the work (churches can be exempt, see below)

The reporting is a pain, for sure.  But a labor of love and is keeping everyone legal.  

Also check into CCRL, Christian Copyright Recording License.  This is a license which helps a church become legal when passing around those copyrighted recordings.  Also a pain to report, but worth it.

Yes, I'm sure they have bureaucracy issues, but they're being a pain so the collected money gets into the right hands and so no church organizations get faced with lawsuits.

CCLI is not a U.S., or U.K. for that matter, mandated performance rights agency (ASCAP/BMI/SESAC for the U.S. and P.R.S. for the U.K.).  These licensed organizations collect performance revenue from venues and distribute them evenly to the publisher and songwriters of record.  CCLI is not regulated by copyright law.

Just wanted you to know!  Not trying to be a 'smarty'.

Blessings,

Steve

Hi Daniel

I have been struggling to get some answers on this since trying to fill in our online report!

But, you say that you have been asking CCLI whether you can report more?  Are you crazy? Don't you have anything better to do with your time?

It's not that I have been asking for more reporting, but clarification on how to report on our digitally displayed music under the MRL, which has not been covered before.

However, having tried to use the new online reporting tool for digital reproduction of music scores it appears there is still no clear option for us.

I'm not sure whether you need to report each and every time you port a song to a digital display..... but one interpretation of their wording would be that if you have four digital display devices for sheet music, each time you "copy" the sheet music onto that digital display device then you will need to report that "copying" activity.

This has been behind my questions to them and is exactly what is causing the confusion. Is it really a 'copy' each time it is displayed? Why is that different from opening a book? You don't have to report on opening a music book, so why do we need to report on looking at a screen?

Or should it only be reported each time an actual copy is made from another source - ie. when a score is scanned into the software for the first time or extracted from PDF? But what about digital songbooks that are downloaded directly into the software which have been legally purchased?

I am hoping to get some more answers from them shortly. They have been good at responding to my emails and phone calls, but not with clear answers yet.

Daniel Read said:

Hi Brenda

I'm going to report at some point on how far I got (not very) with writing to them.  But, yes, one of the drivers for the new system is publishers wanting more information on how much electronic files are emailed around before printing.  To be honest, I think using the reporting system to answer that question is like getting a sledgehammer to crack a nut.  CCLI could have asked a few questions, which would have taken licence holders only 2 minutes to complete:

 a) For electronically downloaded music, typically how many band members do you email the files to, and how many copies are printed?  How many digital display devices do you have?

b) For music photocopied from books, how many copies are typically made?

I can't see that the publishers need any more information than that, and (in truth) I can't see that the new, complicated system is going to provide any more information than that.

But, you say that you have been asking CCLI whether you can report more?  Are you crazy? Don't you have anything better to do with your time?  Anyway, the big change is not "whether there is a new tickbox for digital display" (which is what you asked for) but they want to know how many digital displays you use for each song.  I'm not sure whether you need to report each and every time you port a song to a digital display..... but one interpretation of their wording would be that if you have four digital display devices for sheet music, each time you "copy" the sheet music onto that digital display device then you will need to report that "copying" activity.  I think you will be doing a lot of reporting....

Brenda Cameron said:

I think it is a good move ahead by CCLI. It may be a bit complicated at the moment since this is new to them, but until now it has been impossible to report on digital reproductions of sheet music.

The options previously for music were 'Print' or 'Photocopy'. No options for 'digital display'.

They have recognised this and have now brought their reporting up to date.

I have still to submit this year's copy report but I am encouraged by the fact that they have finally listened to those of us who have been asking for years to update their system to take into account digital display of music as well as printed paper.

(PS I am in the UK)

Hi Brenda

Certainly the "digital display of music" and the possibility of emailing round copies of songs is behind at least some of the changes CCLI have made.  It seems they are coming under pressure from the publishers to get some figures for how much all of this goes on.  I think the way they have gone about this is "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut".... they could simply include ONE short question on the CCLI report, which is "how many digital copies do you typically make of songs in your church?"  This would take you less than a minute to answer, and would give CCLI almost all the information they really need....

... as it is, I suspect you will spend ages with this aspect of your reports.



Brenda Cameron said:

Hi Daniel

I have been struggling to get some answers on this since trying to fill in our online report!

But, you say that you have been asking CCLI whether you can report more?  Are you crazy? Don't you have anything better to do with your time?

It's not that I have been asking for more reporting, but clarification on how to report on our digitally displayed music under the MRL, which has not been covered before.

However, having tried to use the new online reporting tool for digital reproduction of music scores it appears there is still no clear option for us.

I'm not sure whether you need to report each and every time you port a song to a digital display..... but one interpretation of their wording would be that if you have four digital display devices for sheet music, each time you "copy" the sheet music onto that digital display device then you will need to report that "copying" activity.

This has been behind my questions to them and is exactly what is causing the confusion. Is it really a 'copy' each time it is displayed? Why is that different from opening a book? You don't have to report on opening a music book, so why do we need to report on looking at a screen?

Or should it only be reported each time an actual copy is made from another source - ie. when a score is scanned into the software for the first time or extracted from PDF? But what about digital songbooks that are downloaded directly into the software which have been legally purchased?

I am hoping to get some more answers from them shortly. They have been good at responding to my emails and phone calls, but not with clear answers yet.

Hi Steve

I'm not really against the principle of CCLI at all...  there is a clear need for something like them to exist.  Although another company could in principle step in and do the same, CCLI already hold a dominant position in the market and I find it difficult to envisage anyone being able to give them serious competition. Therefore they have a monopoly.  And this is where the trouble starts....

... the main point I'm trying to make is that, although CCLI certainly do need to collect statistics in order to ensure that the right people get paid, they are collecting the statistics in a manner which involves a huge amount of effort on the part of the churches, an effort which is out of all proportion to the money they are distributing on our behalf.  They could collect reasonable statistics, which would still ensure fair distribution of money, for a fraction of the current effort: this would involve random sampling. It is perfectly possible to implement, and the only reason they aren't implementing it is because we don't make enough fuss.

You shouldn't need to do this "labour of love", at least not to the extent that you do now.

Steve Cass said:

Howdy--

Although CCLI certainly is digging in and trying to find out info in order to pay copyright holders of their record, they are not backed up and mandated by U.S. Copyright law (not sure about the U.K.).  They are simply stepping in where there was a void.  Another company could come in and do the same.  Churches are exempt from paying royalty monies for performance of copyrighted works, but are not exempt from the other rights of a copyright holder (all rights listed):....

I have yet to see any report of anyone having talked to CCLI and coming away going, "okay, I now understand exactly what I should report."  As I (think I) said before, at some point, I just decided, "okay, here's how I think it should work," and applied that understanding to all the songs we used... 'cause in the end, we sent $126 (or whatever) to CCLI and they figured out how to divide it up among the copyright holders for various things.  And even if we had reprinted the chord charts every week, there's still just $126 to divide up however they think is fair.

I do think that the CCLI reporting needs to be limited to activity that the WL is directly involved in, and when it gets down to, "well, I sent chord charts to everyone and I think the bass player printed six copies and handed them out to the band members..." that's asking too much, even if that might result in a slightly fairer distribution of the money.

But this seems to be a principle of business these days - simplify or improve the process by unloading work onto the customer.  Improve my productivity by requiring you to do a lot of work that makes my job more automatic.  I have tried, as a WL, to do the opposite - every week, I sit down and put the coming Sunday's chord charts in order for everybody, so that people aren't fumbling through their books between songs... developing a "chord chart" format that includes as much information as possible... even if it means that I get to go through all ten copies of the chart and mark "here's what we play for an introduction."  My goal (as leader and maybe servant) is to make it as easy as possible for the people in the band to be successful.  But if the church was paying me by the hour, I'd probably be getting pressured to delegate a lot of that work to the band members and singers (volunteers).  Grumble, grumble.

Steve, I agree that the existence of a group like CCLI is not "mandated" by copyright law, but I think that most of the new numbers they are collecting relate back to specific things that are in the copyright law.  And the publishers / writers who are covered by CCLI have agreed that they won't ask individual churches to sign individual copyright agreements as long as the church has a CCLI license and reports sufficient information to divide the money up fairly.

By the way, there is at least one other similar organization, OneLicense, which I think evolved from the merger of two or three other licensing groups.  I believe that OneLicense mainly covers music that comes out of the Catholic church and maybe a couple other similar sources, but has very little of the "contemporary" music that CCLI does.  Our church has a CCLI license for the contemporary band and a OneLicense license for the choir / traditional service.  But if they decide to do "Thy Word" in the traditional service, that never really makes it back into our CCLI report.   It probably should, but it doesn't...

Hi Daniel

I have had a very helpful conversation with CCLI (UK) and it has confirmed what I have thought all along about our system.

Daniel said:

... as it is, I suspect you will spend ages with this aspect of your reports

On the contrary, with the system we use (http://www.powermusicsoftware.co.uk) we only have to report under the MRL when we import a piece of music from PDF or scan music into the software. This is the only time we actually 'reproduce' a digital copy. When we display the music using the software each week we are using a typeset that has already beeen reproduced and reported on at the time of import, so it is like opening a book each week - no need to report.

I agree we still have to report on the lyrics displayed each week, but that is fairly straightforward if you can get reports from your display software, or just enter the songs displayed. My humble opinion is that reporting is going to be easier for us from now on :)

(This may change in future when they catch up with the technology)

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