Annual Performance Licences

Whilst it is a legal requirement for churches to comply with copyright law, we know that staff and volunteers are busy so we try to make the process of compliance as simple as possible. The guidelines below explain the most common copyright and licensing issues.

Don't forget, if you have any questions we're more than happy to help. Contact us.

All of our Nativities include an Annual Performance Licence. 


Performance Rights Granted To The Annual Performance Licence Holder

An Annual Performance Licence will permit the holder to:

  • Perform the musical or nativity during the licence period. The licence will cover any number of performances (free or charging) within a specified time (maximum 12 months from the date of purchase or date of first performance if earlier).
  • Play the audio tracks (either backing or vocal tracks) at the performance.


Should you wish to perform the nativity outside of the 12 months after purchase, you must purchase a new Annual Performance Licence. This can be done by contacting us.


Photocopying Rights Granted To The Annual Performance Licence holder. Photocopying of the published material is permitted under licences issued by CCLI.

UK churches should report when requested any:

  • Copying of the lyrics and music on their CCLI returns.
  • Copying of the script, teachers' notes & staging instructions on their Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) returns, available from CCLI.


Churches that do not have a CCLI/CLA licence may under the terms of the Annual Performance Licence:

  • Make up to 2 photocopies or printed copies of the script for learning purposes. Copies must be destroyed after the performance.
  • Make up to 2 photocopies or printed copies of the music score for use by participating musicians on the performance dates.
  • Reproduce the song lyrics on printed paper, e.g. for programmes, to project the lyrics or to display the lyrics electronically, to make transparencies for overhead projection and to display the lyrics on a touchscreen, interactive whiteboard or other type of screen. The following credit should be included with the lyrics: 'Reproduced by kind permission © Out of the Ark Ltd'.

If the songs are used in a Church service then photocopying, printing, displaying or projecting the lyrics or music score are covered by the Church's CCLI licences and should be logged and reported as required by CCLI.

Digital Content Usage Rights Granted To The Annual Performance Licence Holder

In addition, where digital copies of the product have been purchased, a number of digital usage rights are granted to the licence holder, including:

  • Copying song files from an audio CD onto more than one computer or onto a network.
  • Copying MP3 audio files onto more than one computer or onto a network.
  • Uploading digital content to an intranet or learning platform.
  • Permitting usage of digital content at home for teachers/volunteers for preparation purposes.

Putting Audio or Video Recordings Online

Permission to upload audio or video recordings of your children performing our works, is already included in our Annual Performance Licences included in your purchase. These allow you to upload audio or video recordings to your Church website and also public websites, YouTube or other social media platforms (subject to your safeguarding policy). 

Please note that this permission is only intended to cover your congregation performing our works. Our original recordings can only be used as an accompaniment to the singing. Out of the Ark must be credited, plus an inbound link to must be provided from your website.

However, as a special dispensation for Musicals and Nativities, if children are not allowed to sing for health & safety reasons, original recordings may be used instead, as long as they are part of an overall recording or stream of the whole work with the spoken parts, and not just the songs on their own.

An Out of the Ark Music Annual Performance Licence is required by customers worldwide, not just in the UK.


Extended Performance Licences and COVID-19 Licence Guarantee

With our extended Performance Licences and COVID-19 Licence Guarantee, you can buy your Christmas nativity or musical now with confidence. Our feature-boosted licences allow you to record, film and stream your performance online for family and friends if they are unable to attend. And if you need to cancel your performance, our COVID-19 Licence Guarantee means you can simply give us a call and we will extend your licence for 12 more months free of charge.