Get your copyright!
Photo Source: Supplied | "Music matters. So let's do it honestly."

Get your copyright!

Published on: 25 February, 2016

It’s ironic isn’t it? Here we are. At church. Worshipping God. But for some of us, we’re not doing the best job we can at worshipping honestly. Dishonest worship? How? 

For that let’s visit a songwriter’s house. In that house lives a beautiful, ageing woman who has dedicated her life to ministering through music. And she wrote a song. One you love. And one you sing with gusto as the words flash onto your church's overhead screen. 

But here’s the problem. Although a powerful music management company is paid by our Church organisation for the use of a broad range of Christian songs in public worship, including hers, the songwriter never sees a cent of that money. Unless . . . 

Unless our local churches report all the songs we’ve sung to the music management company. How do we do that? The simple steps are available at the new webpage:

There’s one exception to this rule: if you sing directly from an officially published songbook like the Adventist Hymnal, then your music use is covered by a different agreement. But the second we flash words onto a screen—any screen and any song whatsoever—or sing any song not in an officially published songbook? Then we need to report it to ensure the songwriter gets appropriate credit. We’ve paid for the right to use the songs on the screen. But the songwriters get nothing unless we report the songs we love.

Reporting the songs is simple, doesn’t take long and it’s the right thing to do. So let’s head over to the new website page, download the form and send it off on a regular basis. Because somewhere is a songwriter who is counting on her brothers and sisters to do the right thing. Let’s not let her down.


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The above article demonstrates the complete unfairness of copyright. If we use only printed hymnals the "old lady songwriter" gets nothing when we repeatedly sing her songs each week. However if we put her words and/or music on the screen and report it to CCLI she gets a few cents (maybe).
Christians should fight for fairness and justice. There must be a better way to pay "the old lady".

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Copyright is a hot topic!
A few years ago I heard from an IT Guru on the radio (???) that in a few years the internet will have done away with the concept of copyright. Well, we're still waiting on that one.
Google, Facebook et al, are all fighting over the issue. And so too are the creators of material which gets copyrighted. The truth is only a very small proportion of that which is paid to the various organisations like CCLI is paid to the creators. So many artists now simply bypass the process and publish themselves. The existing process is deemed unjust! The main thing copyrighters do is count the dollars and pocket most for themselves. This is NOT fair!
What should we do as Christians? 1. Pay the workman what he/she is due. 2. Fight for justice and bypass those who make legal claims on other people's earnings. I believe this can only be done when there is a mass protest against the existing system.

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Every member should be bringing their hymnals & Bibles to church every deacon should make sure there are enough hymnals in place, why do we have to turn worship into this big media production .

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If you think we should not be paying to use worship resources because they are for worship, neither should we be paying our ministers to prepare sermons, and preach them, for worship – especially if they have taken their sermon or illustrations from the internet and don’t give any credit to the author/s.
I imagine Jesus would say “Give to Creatives what is the Creative’s, be it credit or commission”.
Jesus would encourage us to find new ways to minister and reach out – even if we need to pay for it - like we do ministers.
Yes, ideally it would be perfect if anything to do with the Church’s mission was free for all. But this quick logical assumption, if you actually take the time to think that through properly, you’ll find it ends up hurting the Church’s mission by encouraging creative’s to find a day job (or two) instead of focusing on their God given gifts of creating creative mission resources – which generally doesn’t food on the table because no one wants to pay for the creativity

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So we can encourage our song writers to make more music and give them the time to do it, I think it is right and proper that we report the music we sing - and of course its is the honest thing to do. I support the author and her conclusions.

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Great article! Note: Reporting is also required if you make any photocopies from an officially published songbook for the use of musicians or multiple band members.
Leo, a CCLI license is cheap in comparison to paying for music performances via APRA. Music used for worship has far more concessions for use applied to it thanks to CCLI.
The process of songwriting, recording, and publishing, is incredibly costly financially and the fact that you have any songs at all to sing is due to huge sacrifices made by a songwriter somewhere. Unless those costs are paid by the writer initially, you don't get to even hear that music. So Leo, I am quite stunned that you would consider a worship music songwriter not worthy of earning any income for their ministry. Unless they are backed by a large organization or publisher, it is highly unlikely that the small amount paid via CCLI will go anywhere near paying back the financial sacrifice they have personally made to get the music to your church.

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As one minister once said, "no sermon or worship music should be copyright".

Whenever I see the words "such and such music ministry" I think "such and such music industry". There is a place for copyright and artists have the right to make money from their work, but not for the purposes of worship. I can just imagine what Jesus would say about this should he step into one of our churches. He did drive out the moneylenders did He not?


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Reporting the songs is simple, doesn’t take long and it’s the right thing to do.

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