Ok, I have a dilemma ,a little background first, I am a guest worship leader at a church in a week. I prayed over and assembled a contemporary worship set list. Two weeks in advance I provided the team links to the charts and mp3 of the songs so they may prepare for the rehearsal and for the Sunday service.
Ok here's the issue , on the night of the rehearsal I am informed that a couple of singers , the drummer and bass player refuse to listen to the music I have provided because they feel I am violating copy write laws by providing it to them. I don't want to violate any law so how are you other worship leaders legitimately provide to your teams the tools and resources they need to prepare and practice for worship?
Thank you in advance for any input you may be willing to share...
Does the church have a CCLI license? This may get around the issue.
Another thought is providing just the chord progressions. Many web sites have gotten around copyright issues this way. A Chord Progression can't really be copyrighted. It's a basic unit of music.
Lastly, would they be OK with links to 3rd party sites, like YouTube? Or some sites like Amazon often had mini-clips that could help.
Hope that helps. Personally I record demo tracks all the time for learning purposes. Most copyright laws are around protecting the authors and performers from losing out royalties or others profiting from their hard work. Maybe there is a hope you could explain that to the other band members. If they have a CCLI #, then you are teaching them and playing that particular song, when it get audited by CCLI via the bi-annual reporting, the authors will get more royalties from CCLI (I think that is the way it works).
For more info on CCLI, you can point them to the website:
We have a CCLI license. I was involved in a survey from CCLI talking about this issue. They were aware of the problem and that worship teams were distributing audio for rehearsal purposes and were coming up with acceptable use guidelines for use and reporting. I upload low quality mp3 files to a password protected file server that only my team members have access to. I restrict access to just the songs that are coming up. If I have anyone take issue with that I provide youtube links, I point them to rhapsody (which lets you legally set up a free account that allows you 25 full song plays per month), or if it bothers them that much they can buy the tracks from iTunes. I've never had a problem.
I admire their character but it would have been nice if they would have brought that up before rehearsal night.
I have used a site called drop.io in order to provide some music. It creates a password protected area where you can put MP3's. The site provides a way to stream or download the content, which if they stream would be about the best mitigation for this problem. I'm not sure that's 100% copyright-friendly, but I think the due diligence will have been done. Of course, this is also assuming you've obtained the appropriate copyright for the MP3 you're posting. ;)
The trouble is getting away from CD's completely. I have found that there are usually a couple people who refuse to become part of the "high-speed internet" generation. Invariably some people will be forced to have CD's, so we still have to make them.
I use a website called worshipteam.com. It's password protected, and free to the team members. You can get an account for only $20/month for up to 20 users. The great thing is that you are the one that uploads the music (if it's not already on there), chord sheets are usually on there, and you can change the key, and more. It's a great tool that has really helped me. It does not violate copyright rules, because you cannot download the music from there, you can only listen to it.
The site is very simple to use, and any team member can access it so long as you send them an invitation. Check it out, I think they even have a free 30 day trial!
Sometimes I email the team with links to videos online at YouTube....but not all may have broadband access, and your team may still be put off by that. If your church subscribes to CCLI's license and SongSelect that may be a more legit way to get charts and lead sheets in any key - I guess for the MP3's you could have them go to iTunes or Amazon to buy them.
But I suspect there may be more to their reluctance than meets the eye/ear...many Praise people seem to suffer from the 'fail to prepare, prepare to fail' syndrome...
Since we're discussing this anyway, let me ask: why is a link to a video of the song on YouTube any more legal than a link to an .mp3 file somewhere else on the internet? Especially if the video on YouTube uses the exact same recording of the song as the .mp3 file would be and just adds the lyrics and maybe a few images?
I agree that this is a very messy situation with regard to copyrights, and I also agree that in this particular situation, the band members should have informed the visiting leader way sooner that they had a problem with .mp3 files on the internet. I'm glad to hear that CCLI is looking into ways to deal with this, because the bottom line is that a lot of worship team members just need to be able to hear the song to learn it.
Personally, I do see a difference between the "song" per se and a specific "recording" of the song - if you're distributing your own recordings of a given song, it's still probably a bit dodgy in terms of the SONG copyright. If you're ripping .mp3 files from a CD or something, of somebody else's performance, then there are TWO copyrights involved - one belonging to the author of the song (or whatever publisher owns the copyright) and the other belonging to the performer of that particular recording of the song (or whatever record company owns the copyright on that particular recording of the song).
And, yeah, back when I was doing this stuff, I would record my own guy & guitar demos of the songs, make CDs and give those to the band members. But I also realize that not every worship leader is in a position to do that.
Jerry, maybe what you should do in this case is just do all songs that you wrote and recorded yourself. See how the band and the mediashout guru like "new songsheet Sunday" in the extreme :-)
There are a number of "official" releases of Christian songs on youtube by the author or production studio, as this is seen as a good way to market the music. I've always considered these a valuable, legal ways to share songs that we are doing on Sundays... is this wrong?
At LifeWayWorship.com, you can download MP3s of our versions of hymns and worship songs and transfer them to your team members in whatever media you like. You can burn a CD of them, put it on an iPod, make a cassette... whatever works for your ministry. The deal is: you purchase the same number that you're going to make. For instance... six members of your praise team, purchase six tracks. it's that simple.
We cover almost all of the top CCLI songs, plus we have what we call "SuperCharts" for the newest praise and worship songs like those from Passion Awakening.