Why Do I Need To Report My Children's Groups Song Use?

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Music copyright isn’t at the forefront of many Children’s ministry workers and volunteers’ minds, it can often fall by the wayside as we juggle with health and safety, safeguarding and who’s turn it is to set up, but it needn’t be a chore. Reporting the music reproduced can be a super quick and easy process, and will ensure you’re complying with the law, as well as ensuring songwriters and musicians get paid fairly. Wins all round!!

Why should I report our song use within our toddler group/ Sunday school?

In order to comply with the law, you should pay royalties to the owners of different works you reproduce in your church. Most churches do this through licencing bodies such as CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International), CCLI act as agents for PRS (Performing Rights Society) and PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd.) and a number of other licensing societies. The terms of some of these licenses require you to report what you’ve reproduced regularly; this is to make sure that the royalties are then distributed fairly between the owners of the copyrights in the work.

Copyright law is there to protect the intellectual property of its owners, both morally and economically.  The reporting process only takes a few minutes when done regularly and will give you peace of mind and ensure everyone can carry on creating wonderful music for you to use!

What’s covered?

If your children’s work is held within your church building then you should be covered by the licence that your church holds – check to see if your church has a CCLI Licence, or any other licence, your church administrator should know. If your children’s work is held somewhere else, like a school or village hall, you should check with the building’s owner what type of licence is held for the venue.

A CCLI license will cover you for the reproduction of any copyright protected lyrics, whether it’s photocopying for children to use, or projection. You are obligated under the terms of the licence to report each time you reproduce lyrics, so remember to make a record and pass this on to the person who deals with your copy reporting.

You may also have a licence (PRS Licence available from CCLI) that covers you for the live performance and/or recording of any copyright-protected songs, which might include choirs or congregational singing captured in audio or video. This should again always be reported on your regular copy reports. Recording pre-recorded music from a CD or MP3 is not permitted – unless you have an appropriate licence.

If your performance includes any script then you should check with the publisher of that publication. At Out of the Ark Group we sell Annual Performance Licenses to go with our Nativities and Musicals, for more information go [here].

Some songs exist in the public domain, normally when the copyright expires. In the UK, for example, copyright in a song expires 70 years after the end of the calendar year in which the last surviving writer or composer has passed away. The expiration term is different for sound recordings, publications, film and broadcast. If you’re not sure the work you want to use is protected by copyright you can contact CCLI or the publisher/copyright owner of the song – their details are normal found at the bottom of the song or the inside cover of the songbook.  All Out of the Ark and Same Boat Music published songs are protected by copyright.

How do I report my song use?

You’ll find a CCLI number printed on the bottom of the lyrics, lead sheets and chord sheets for all our Same Boat Music songs. Make a record of this along with the song name and how many times you have reproduced these lyrics (including projection, photocopying etc) in preparation for your churches copy report.

More information:

For further information on Copyright licensing CCLI has a really helpful how to guide here.

To report your song use to CCLI you can follow these handy instructions on their website here.

If you have any questions related to the copyright of Same Boat Music songs you can contact us here.


About the Author

Hannah Rayson

Hannah Rayson

Hannah coordinates the day to day work at Same Boat Music as well as being the first point of contact for our partners. Hannah lives in Brighton with her Husband, step daughter and dog!

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