Hello,

I have a question about copyright laws:

Is it legal to make copies of cds for everyone on the team to practice with? If not do we get rid of everything and start fresh or do we keep what we have, repent and go on from here?

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I'm not the biggest expert on this, but have had to deal with it for years now. If you look at the strictest letter of the law, you're not really even supposed to let other people listen to your cds at home or in the car - the music is supposed to be for your ears only.

But that's not reality. And the major issue is really about artist's getting paid for their work, not restricting the work from being heard. I think you'll find that many Christian artists today are not as worried about being paid for every listen to their work as they are wanting their songs to become known among the churches. If you go on many sites now, (Paul Baloche, Brian Doersken, Starfield, etc) you'll find the lyrics and chords to many of their songs - for free. Mp3's are different.

What we do is put the mp3 files on a password protected website that only the music team accesses, so that they can learn the songs for practice night. That way we're not burning and handing out cds to everyone. Up until now, CCLI had no policy on this other than to say not allowed.

But interestingly enough, I just took part in a survey from CCLI last week on this very subject, and they are now setting up a new license to deal with it, because they know that churches need something to work with. So look for this in the days to come.

For now, I'll keep doing what I'm doing.
Thanks so much for the great advice!
The short answer is no. Unless you have received specific permission to duplicate those prerecorded tracks from the song owners, you cannot copy the CDs. Our church has recently undergone a shake-up on the way our worship music is handled because we became aware of what we could and could not do legally. It affected the ability to even videotape our annual Easter program, which relies heavily on prerecorded tracks.

A CCLI license only allows the recording and duplication of live performances during worship services, and and specifically prohibits even recording a song where a singer is using a track from a CD. Even then, unless you have a specific license that covers publishing the live worship performance to the web (webcast), then a church is even prohibited from that.

We do, however, record and make available on .mp3 our Thursday night practices for our praise team and worship band to practice with through the weekend. Those recordings are ONLY of the praise team and band, and do not include any CD tracks.
I believe the CCLI license only covers the duplication of printed music. An ASCAP or BMI license is required to PLAY a prerecorded song during a service (public performance). Currently, there is no blanket license that covers duplicating a recorded track or even taping your praise team doing it. If, like Rick says, CCLI is working on a blanket license for that, that would be great. That is my understanding.
Thank you!!
Yes, I believe they are, Al. One of the larger churches in our area requested it of them, because they are doing the same thing as I (i.e. a website where you can hear the song for learning purposes).

From what the questionaire was suggesting, there would be an annual fee based on how many times a year the church would be recording a particular song, plus how many times it would be duplicated. One can only guess how the reporting of such recordings would take place...I don't have much faith in CCLIs current methods as they are. Hopefully it will be workable.
Thank you for the info!
we use Planning Center Online. GREAT RESOURCE! www.planningcenteronline.com. it puts all our charts into 1 PDF package for each sunday. and for the mp3s, it plays them thru their own mp3 player and you can choose whether or not to make them downloadable.
Thanks for the website. Can't wait to check it out!

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