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Copyright 101: Music Licensing

by Dean McIntyre

There is no music license that covers all hymns and songs in hymnals and songbooks.

 

Some basic information on music licensing:

  1. There is no music license that covers all hymns and songs in hymnals and songbooks.
     
  2. The source of a song is irrelevant in determining which license covers what song. It is entirely based upon the copyright holder or copyright administrator of the song. This information is found at the bottom of each copyrighted hymn or in a separate index, usually at the back of the book.
     
  3. A license covers only those copyright holders listed on the license's website. "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," for instance, is copyrighted by Hope Publishing Co, which is covered by CCLI. Any of the Taizé selections, on the other hand, are copyrighted by either the Taizé Community or GIA Publishing, neither of which is covered by CCLI.
     
  4. It is always the responsibility of the church or end user to verify which license, if any, covers any particular piece of music. The most up-to-date version of this information is always found on the licensing company's website, and this may change at any time.
     
  5. There are three main music licensing companies that cover the reproduction of hymns and songs in church worship services:

Categories: Copyright & Licensing, Worship