11. If our church owns enough copies of a hymnal or songbook for our pews, can we make copies of a hymn from that book for our service folder, as long as the number of copies doesn’t exceed the number of hymnals we own?
Most English translations of the Bible are protected by copyright. However, most of these publishers allow churches to reprint Bible text, provided it is for congregational, noncommercial use and doesn’t exceed a certain number of verses or contain an entire book of the Bible. Contact the copyright holder for more specific information on that particular Bible translation:
If any part of the material is copyrighted, permission from the publisher/copyright holder must be obtained. Each publisher/copyright owner has its own guidelines in regard to Internet usage.
Yes. Congregations and schools, although not-for-profit, are still required to obtain permission for reproducing any copyrighted material. Nonprofit status does not exempt an individual or an organization from following copyright law.
Even though a publication may no longer be in print, it is still copyrighted and is illegal to copy without permission. Also, the rights may have been transferred to the author or to another publisher, so it’s a good idea to check with the original publisher.
Each publisher has its own definition of “fair use” (amount one can copy from a publication without permission or charge), so it’s best to request permission from the publisher/copyright holder first.
According to the US Copyright Office, “The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.”
Not necessarily. See the US Copyright Office Web site for more information on educational fair use provisions. If in doubt, contact the publisher/copyright owner.
Most publishers have information on their Web sites about how to contact them for copyright permission, and most prefer those requests to be made in writing (e-mail is okay). Be sure to include in your request the book or publication you want to copy (include stock number or ISBN if possible), the number of pages you wish to copy, to whom the copies will be distributed, and whether or not there is a charge to the recipients for the copies. For permission to reprint NPH copyrighted material, please fill out an NPH Copyright Permissions Request Form.
The publisher of a hymnal or songbook is not necessarily the copyright owner of the individual hymns or songs. In some songbooks and hymnals the copyright information for each song is indicated at the bottom of the music (such as in Christian Worship: Supplement), and in some hymnals (such as in Christian Worship) the copyright information is found in an Acknowledgments section in the back of the book. If you are unsure, contact the publisher of the hymnal or songbook. Also, be aware that there can be multiple copyright holders for one song (for example, for text, tune, setting), and permission must be obtained from each of them to reprint the song.
No, you only need to get permission for the part (text, tune, or setting) you are reprinting.
Even though you own the hymnals themselves, ownership of the individual songs and the rights that go along with them still belong to the copyright holders. You cannot reprint anything copyrighted without permission from the copyright holder (either directly or through an online licensing service such as OneLicense.net), even if that hymn is in the pew hymnals you have purchased.
Permission must be obtained from the copyright holder(s) of anything copyrighted within a service if it is going to be broadcast in any way, including via the Internet. This would include any copyrighted hymns and liturgies.
Most (but not all) of the hymns and liturgies from Christian Worship are copyrighted by OneLicense.net member publishers, and OneLicense now offers a Podcast License. Check the OneLicense Web site for more information on which materials that license covers.
Be sure to check the details of the license to make sure it covers the specific copyrighted material for which you need permission (the specific hymns or liturgies you will be recording or reprinting, for example) and the specific use (audio or video recording or reprinting music in a service folder). Keep in mind that rarely will one license cover all of your copyright permissions needs.
If a church has a license from a licensing agent such as CCLI or OneLicense, recordings (audio and/or video) of copyrighted works by the member publishers of those licensing agents may be recorded and distributed only to homebound members of the congregation holding the license. For any other recordings or type of distribution, permission for anything copyrighted must be obtained from the copyright holder directly.
Permission must be obtained for anything copyrighted within the service that is recorded, even if the copies of the DVD or CD are distributed at cost or free of charge. This type of use is generally not covered under licenses such as OneLicense or CCLI.
US copyright law prohibits the duplication of these works (including software) without permission from the publisher. Sometimes a publisher will “spell out” what can or can’t be duplicated or shared via multiple computers. Check the CD packaging or the Readme file for more detailed copyright information, or contact the publisher if you are unsure. There is one exception: Copyright law does allow the purchaser of computer software to make one “archival” copy (a single back-up copy that is to be stored and only used if the original becomes damaged).
Copyright information for Christian Worship: Supplement
Copyright information for Christian Worship: Electronic Pew Edition
For other questions regarding NPH copyrighted material or to request permission, please contact NPH Copyrights and Permissions: