Copyright and the
All materials, words, music and
illustrations, during the lifetime of an author or composer and
for a period of 50 years after death, are covered by the Copyright
Act of 1988. In July 1995 the period was extended to 70 years
Permission must be obtained in writing for all items used which
are within the 70 year time limit, and since such permissions
are given or withheld at the discretion of the copyright holder,
an application must be made and a reply received, before the
printing of a service sheet or any other kind of publication.
Such permission may include the payment of a fee, specific wording
and a note as to the positioning of an acknowledgement. Music
or material to be included in a publication intended for re-sale
will usually be subject to a more detailed application to the
copyright holder and the payment of a larger fee or royalty.
These conditions also apply to Overhead Transparencies and projection
of material (eg Powerpoint). The Bible, in the Authorised Version
is in perpetual copyright and permission must be sought before
any part, longer than one verse, is reproduced. All other versions
are covered by the Copyright Act.
Service sheets for special occasions, including weddings,
funerals, ordinations and inductions etc are subject to the same
regulations, although for a funeral permission may be sought
by telephone. For these occasions the fee is sometimes waived.
Photocopying pre-printed material is totally illegal without
permission. The rights to the page image of any publication are
held by the body responsible for the work for 25 years after
the date of the last printing; eg the United Reformed Church
retains the page rights of the Book of Services (1980) both of
which is now out of print, as well as the Service Book (1989).
In addition to obtaining permission to photocopy from the body
responsible, copyright will also need to be cleared for each
item used which falls within the time limits listed above. The
copyright holder for the volume is generally shown on the reverse
of the title page and individual copyright holders are listed
separately, or where requested, alongside each item.
New arrangements of copyright material, words or music, can
only be made and circulated after written permission is obtained
from the copyright holder.
Some material, deemed to be in the Public Domain, which may
be freely used in magazines etc is available in books, magazines,
computer programmes and on web-sites. This is usually labelled
as copyright free.
The Christian Copyright Licensing Association administers
the Copyright Licence Scheme which covers most, but not all,
publishers of hymns. For the payment of an annual fee and the
completion of an annual return, material covered by the scheme
may be used freely. Separate schemes are operated for words and
Sound Recordings of services or other live worship
which are for non-commercial use are covered by the CCL licence.
If audio or visual recordings are made for limited sale and distribution
a Limited Manufacture Licence is required
All theses licences are available from Christian Copyright
Licensing, PO Box 1339, Eastbourne BN21 1AD.
Copyright and web sites
The `web is accessible world wide and material that
is within the legal copyright period may not be reproduced on
any web-site without clearance for world-wide usage being obtained
in writing from the copyright holder and the payment of any fee
requested. This also applies to music played on any site in any
form whatsoever and permission for words (if being used), music
and arrangement must be sought. If a commercial recording is
used this will involve not only the composer and/or arranger
but also permission from the artist(s) or their agent. Production
of music using a midi-device is also in breach of copyright regulations,
and permission to do this must be sought from the copyright holder
for any use whatsoever. For hymns and hymn tunes a list of copyright
holders is included in all published hymn books.
Performing Rights Society (PRS) Licence
Christian Copyright Licensing (Europe) are now the agents
for PRS Church Licences.
A PRS Church Licence is needed for churches and church
halls where the playing of, or permitting the use of, music of
almost any kind takes place. It is now the responsibility of
the Church to obtain the licence.
Music Use includes one or more of the following:
concerts and recitals; discos, dances and karioke sessions, areobic;
keep fit or dancing classes; film or video shows; background
music by means or television, radio; tape recorders, CD, video
players and juke boxes at such events as coffee mornings, youth
clubs, fetes, bazaars etc.
Where music is strictly confined to Divine Worship only, PRS
will not press for a licence to be obtained for the time being.
However should this decision be changed the PRS Church Licence
covering secular performances will be deemed to cover music at
Divine Worship without distinction or further charge.
Other Licences available from CCLI for Church Activities
For more information visit the CCLI website at
Church Video Licence: permits the showing of clips from
or full length feature films
Copyright Licensing Agency : for copying from non-music
Wedding Video Recording Licence : when the
wedding couple are not church members, or the wedding is being
recorded by a professional videographer.
Published by the URC Musicians' Guild 2009