Copyright Questions

What is copyright?

According to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (UK) and the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (Eire) copyright is an intellectual property right given to the creators of original musical, literary, artistic and dramatic works. There is also a separate and distinct copyright in a sound recording, a broadcast and a video of film.

What is dubbing?

Dubbing is the copying of a sound recording from one format to another. Copying music from a commercial recording on to your wedding video requires the permission of two licensing agencies – one which pays the owner or copyright administrator of the musical work being dubbed (MCPS) and the other which pays the company that produced the recording from which the work is being copied (PPL).

What is public domain?

Copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (including a photograph) lasts until 70 years after the death of the author. The duration of copyright in a film is 70 years after the death of the last to survive of the principal director, the authors of the screenplay and dialogue, and the composer of any music specially created for the film. Sound recordings, broadcasts and cable programmes are protected for 50 years, and published editions are protected for 25 years. After that time, the work is deemed to be “in the public domain”, and may be performed, copied or recorded without permission and without charge.

What is a copyright owner?

The copyright owner is the person or organisation from whom permission must be obtained prior to a song being reproduced. This is necessary when recording a live performance, recording in a studio or dubbing from an existing recording.

Can we purchase items from the CCLI shop in the UK?

Unfortunately there is no CCLI shop in the UK so we would recommend you contact the USA store directly if you have any queries.

How do churches calculate their size category or average aggregate attendance?

The Average Aggregate Attendance (AAA) rule, as part of the Church Size definition, was initially devised by CCLI to fit the American church scene but equally applies to churches in all CCLI regions. Some churches have to hold more than one main service to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend. If there are two regular main services (based on church accommodation limitations not on types of service), the first having an average of 350 people and the second having an average of 400 people, then the size category would be based upon the aggregate of the two averages, being 750. In all regions where this situation arises, the AAA rule will apply. However, if a church holds more than one service, but those services are distinctly different and do not exist simply because the congregation can't all meet at the same time, then the AAA rule will not apply as there are not two or more averages to aggregate. For example, an Anglican church in the UK may hold a 1662 Prayer Book service at 8am, a family service at 10am and an evening celebration service at 6pm. In this case the church needs to determine which is its main service (based on biggest regular attendance) and the size category will be based upon the average attendance at that service. If the church has to hold its main service twice, the aggregate rule will apply.

How does copyright affect small house groups not linked to a church?

A house group may require licences if they are reproducing song words, photocopying music, photocopying literature or using videos/dvds. House groups would generally not require a Performing Right Society (PRS) Church Licence.

In which countries does CCLI currently operate?

CCLI currently licenses churches in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Eire, Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malawi, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe. If you are not located in one of these countries we would recommend that you contact the copyright owners directly.

Can CCLI licence into other countries from their UK office?

Each country has different laws regarding copyright, licensing and financial dealings and therefore it is not possible for CCLI to license any new countries from our regional offices. CCLI is expanding into new countries but will only offer the licence in new countries once due diligence has been done in respect of that country's legislation and more importantly, when we know that the local church wants the licence and that it will be of benefit to them.

Are all children to be included in the church attendance figures when choosing a size category?

We would generally advise including school age children and upwards in your average attendance figures.

Can a smaller church pair up with a larger church and share a licence?

A licence can potentially cover two churches where the smaller church averages under 25 people at it's main worship service. Please contact us for further details.

If a copyright line says 'all rights reserved' can I reproduce it?

Licence holders can reproduce [i]authorised [/i]songs even if the copyright line reads 'all rights reserved'. Our authorised lists can be viewed at

Does the CCLI certificate need to be displayed in our church?

Your CCLI certificate does not need to be displayed in your church.

Where can I find a price grid on your website?

Our price grid can be found [url:]here[/url].

Can we pay for licences on-line?

CCLI can currently only accept payment by cheque, debit/credit card or BACs. Please contact us for further details.

Can one licence be used for a group of churches?

Our licences cannot cover entire circuits, benefices or groups but churches can be paired with a church of under 25 people.

Which licence do we need to distribute commercial recordings amongst our worship group?

CCLI are not able to license the distribution of commercial recordings. We would advise contacting PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) - 0207 534 1030 and PRS for Music (0207 580 5544) who collect royalties in this scenario.

Can we project text from Bibles e.g. New International Version and New Revised Standard Version?

Projecting small amounts of Bible text would not require a licence but please check any terms and conditions printed in the Bible you are using.

Would a licence be required to sing from hymnbooks or songbooks during worship services?

No licence is required to sing from hymnbooks or songbooks during worship services if no reproductions or photocopies are made.

Would our CCLI licences cover a small bible study group held outside of the main church venue i.e. in a home?

The PRS for Music and PPL Church Licences are not required for worship services, whether they take place in the main church venue or a home. The other licences sold by CCLI would extend to meetings within a home, as they cover the chruch congregation and not the building in which they meet.

How do I find out whether our church has a copyright licence?

Please contact us on +44 (0)1323 436100 and we will do our best to confirm this for you.

How do I find the copyright year?

The copyright year would usually be printed at the bottom of the song in a songbook.

I would like to write an additional verse for an existing song and perform the entire song with the new verse at our church. Is this legal?

You would need to contact the copyright owner/adminsitrator for permission to amend a copyright work.

I translate English songs into another language, do I need to do anything about copyright?

You would need to obtain direct permission from the copyright owner to translate their work.

Does a church licence cover a church hall too for church social functions?

It will do if you can access the hall internally through the church building. If the hall is separate then it depends on the usage of the hall when music is played during a social activity. If the usage is predominantly by the Church and outreach of the Church then the PRS for Music would cover the hall. If the usage is predominantly by the Community then the hall would have to have separate cover direct.

Can we display music within worship services using an OHP or a projector? What license do we need?

You will require the CCL to project the lyrics of songs/hyms that are in copyright.

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