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August 31, 2011


How to Properly Display Copyright Notices (for CCLI License Holders)

by Kenny Lamm
Projection Copyright

From my observation, it seems that the majority of churches are not in compliance with their CCLI license requirements when it comes to displaying the copyright information. Merely possessing a copyright license is not enough for your church to comply with the copyright laws. Proper display of copyright information is another important piece of legality. Today, I hope to clear up the misunderstandings of what is required.

As part of the CCLI terms and agreement, you are responsible for including the copyright information on all songs reproduced under the Church Copyright License. If you did not read last week’s post on the CCLI license, please do so. The information that must be displayed is:

  • the song title
  • writer credit(s),
  • copyright notice, and
  • your church’s CCLI license number

Here is an example of a correct display of copyright information:

“Hallelujah” words and music by John Doe
©2000 Good Music Co.
CCLI License # 0000

If you are uncertain of your CCLI number, you can find your CCLI License Number on your License Certificate.

In a printed format, for example a bulletin insert or songsheet, just include the copyright information at the top or bottom of the page. In computer projections, there are several ways that lyrics are shown. Whether you show your lyrics a few lines at a time or you show the full song on the screen, you must include the copyright information at least one time for each song. This video will make things much clearer.

The abuse I often see occurs in bulletins. The church will include lyrics to songs and merely include something like, “CCLI License #777777.”  Some church bulletins I have seen include nothing concerning a license or copyright information at all; others list their CCLI license once somewhere in the bulletin. All of these examples are not in compliance with the requirements and are therefore illegal in their use of music or lyrics in the church. Here is an example from a last week’s church bulletin (I chose an out-of-state church) :

As you have seen from the previous information, you have to include the complete copyright information, as described above, with each song that is included in your print material. The notice can be in a small font, as long as it is readable.

The accurate notice for this song should be:

“Make Us One” words & music by Carol Cymbala
© 1991, 1994 Word Music, LLC | Carol Joy Music (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)
CCLI License No. 777777

As I mentioned earlier, video projection of lyrics must also show the copyright information on at least one slide of the song. Again, the copyright information may be in a smaller font and a different color from the song lyrics so that it will not be distracting. Here is an example:

Next week, I will post information specific to the church musician and the copyright law.

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. Joe Graffi
    Jan 21 2015

    I personally use YouTube videos (Downloaded onto my personal laptop) to prepare the congregation for my sermon. Such as Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons”, ‘Official’ Covenant Worship videos, etc. (I preach 1 x per month). Sometimes I post song lyrics on the back of the bulletin and I always include © info.
    Most Youtube videos do not contain copyright info.
    We have just begun using something other than the Hymnal and so do not yet have a CCLI license. That is just a proceedural matter for the Church Board to approve.

  2. Scott McCrimmon
    Sep 28 2014

    Is it possible to display all the copyright information on a separate slide so that the information can be displayed during the pre-service announcements, rather than placing it with the individual songs.

    • Sep 29 2014

      The copyright information has to be displayed on at least one slide of the song – can be first or the last. Unfortunately you cannot place the information in another part of the service.

  3. Kimberly
    Sep 13 2014

    What if a church is performing a song from memory, no printed material? Then do they need to have any kind of copyright information?

    • Sep 15 2014

      Kimberly. Thanks for your great question. As long as your church is singing from memory and no words are displayed on screen or in print, you do not need to show copyright information.

  4. Chris
    Mar 22 2013

    Do you need to include the composer when projecting?

    • Apr 8 2013

      Yes you do. In CCLI’s documentation, they refer to “writer credits” as those responsible for the words and music.

  5. Sep 24 2012

    Thank you for all of the information, very useful. God bless you in all that you do.

  6. Summer Reese
    May 30 2012

    If the song is public domain, or only lists the author and composer, what copyright information should I include? As an example, Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me. Can I display the information as follows:

    “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me” words by Augustus M. Toplady, music by Thomas Hastings
    CCLI # 777777

    Our hymnal does not include copyright information for this but we are displaying the words on screen. Thanks.

    • May 30 2012

      If the song is in public domain, you do not have to list ANY of this information. Only copyrighted songs require this. SongSelect will generate that information for you anyway, but there is no requirement to publish/display it. Thanks for reading!

  7. Kirby Williams
    May 5 2012

    Is there a website or other resource where you can find copyright info for songs?

    • May 13 2012 is your best resource for copyrights on congregational music. If you have a SongSelect subscription, you will find all the information you need.

  8. Michael Jefferson
    Mar 17 2012

    Blessings this day, is it alright if I put the Title at the top of my slide and the words etc.. at the bottom as per this example. As long as everything required is on the slide, does it matter how it is displayed or where it is located?
    “Make Us One”

    words & music by Carol Cymbala © 1991, 1994 Word Music, LLC | Carol Joy Music (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.) CCLI License No. 777777

    • Mar 23 2012

      It is fine to arrange the information as you have stated. The requirement is that all of that information is displayed, and it does not specify where that information is shown on the slide. Thanks for reading.

  9. Margaret Dixon
    Dec 11 2011

    Thanks for all this clear info. Does the church simply renew or re-purchase a license each year placing a copy of it in the church office as well as in the office of the music director? Thanks!

    • Dec 12 2011

      Yes. Once you purchase an annual license from CCLI, they will bill you each year to help you keep current. You can print out a copy of your license online at CCLI’s site anytime you need one.

  10. Shannon Johnston
    Dec 1 2011

    If my church is showing the iWorship videos, where do I put the CCLI # for my church?

    • Dec 1 2011

      In purchasing the iWorship video, you purchased the rights to show the video in your church–no CCLI license needed. If you do put the words in your bulletin or other publication, you will need to list the copyright and license information there.

  11. Lanell Moree
    Oct 27 2011

    Could you recommend a reliable company to purchase the right to copy music?

    Thank you,

    • Oct 27 2011

      Hi Lanell. In my research, seems to be the leading provider of assistance to churches in securing the needed licenses. I have not yet used their services, but plan to in the near future. Does anyone else out there have a suggestion for Lanell?

  12. Sep 16 2011

    If we only include the name of the song in our bulletin, are we still required to list writer, copyright, publisher, CCLI info??

    • Sep 16 2011

      You only have to list the copyright information and CCLI# when you include lyrics or music in the bulletin. Titles alone need no copyright info. Hope things are going well for you in Laurinburg! If you see my in-laws, tell them I said, “hello!”

  13. Mitch Duncan
    Sep 9 2011

    I have noticed that Easy Worship puts everything on each song slide EXCEPT for the CCLI #. I don’t see how to add the CCLI # anywhere.

    • Sep 9 2011

      The copyright display information can be found on pages 43-44 of the manual (pp. 49-50 of PDF). You can download it here. Hopefully this will take care of your problem. If not, contact EasyWorship support here. Hope this helps!

  14. Eric Campbell
    Sep 8 2011

    that’s great- thanks Kenny!

  15. Eric Campbell
    Sep 1 2011

    Is it necessary to post the admin info as well? It’s something I’ve always wondered about!

    • Sep 2 2011

      Eric, the examples that CCLI gives for display of copyright are void of the admin info, so it would seem all that is required is the copyright holder information and not the admin information. For instance, the copyright notice from SongSelect for Lord, Reign in Me is:

      © 1998 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire) (Admin. by Vineyard Music UK)

      The example on the video only displays:

      © 1998 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire)

      Hope this helps.


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