Copyright 101: Copyright Myth #2
Myth 2. It's for the Lord's work.
Counting down the top ten myths, false beliefs, and misperceptions about church music copyright, none of which are true.
Explanation: Churches are actively engaged in many ministries and projects to fulfill the mission of the church in the areas of worship, evangelism, stewardship, mission, education, nurture and more, all worthy endeavors in the Lord's work. Many want to believe, or even assume, that because they are engaged in such worthy efforts, their use of copyrighted music is allowed. No one is making any money off these efforts, and so many are benefiting so greatly from them, surely we are allowed to copy, record, videotape or perform music without any worry about violating the law? Who could object to bringing a CD or DVD to someone in the hospital or someone who is homebound?
The truth is, in all of these and every other example of worthy church activities, the church must seek the permission of the copyright holder or obtain a license that covers that specific music and activity in order to perform, record, video, copy, broadcast, place on a website, or otherwise use that copyrighted music. There is no exemption provided in the law for worthy ministries or the Lord’s work. (See the explanation for Myth #6 regarding the Religious Exemption clause for worship.)
For more information, see the "Copyright & Licensing" area of the Discipleship Ministries website.