Live music performed during regular worship services or at weddings/funerals is exempt, and does not require licensing. Live streaming, however, is NOT exempt. If a congregation wishes to host a live-stream on its own website, a suitable licence is required unless all of the music involved is in the public domain i.e both words and music were written by composers and authors who died over 70 years ago. One simple solution which means that no copyright issues arise is that the musical portion of worship services is omitted from the live stream.
Most congregations will hold a Church Copyright Licence from Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). This gives giving copyright clearance for a large number of publishers of hymns and worship songs and covers the projecting and printing of copies of these hymns and songs.
CCLI have recently introduced a Streaming Licence for webcasting church services which include copyrighted content, and it is available to any congregation holding a CCLI Church Copyright Licence. It covers the showing of lyrics as part of worship music performed within a live stream.
Other streaming options are:
- One Licence also offers a streaming licence which gives churches and other religious bodies permission to podcast or stream religious services that contain music from any of its member publishers. Note that whilst it covers many publishers (including OCP, Oxford University Press, Stainer & Bell, Wild Goose Resource Group and Taizé) it doesn't cover ThankYou Music or Integrity Music. More information can be found on One Licence's website.
- If you host a live-stream on your own website you should apply for a Limited Online Music Licence (LOML) from PRS for Music (PRS). The annual cost of this is £150. More information about this and how to purchase the appropriate licence can be found at PRS's website.
- If you use Zoom or Skype for live streaming your services you will need both the CCLI Streaming Licence and the PRS for Music Limited Online Music Licence. Zoom doesn't have an agreement with PRS for Music as YouTube and Facebook do.
Finally, note that your organist should confirm that he/she is happy to waive any performing rights, and consider the position regarding any rights to an additional fee which may be contained in their contract of employment.
Further information can be found on our Music Copyright and the Church page.