Posted 2 years 22 days ago ago by Paul Herman 1 Comments
Providing Legal Permission for Rehearsal Copies
There's There’s the letter of the law. There’s the spirit of the law. And then there’s reality.
As musicians and vocalists are learning a new song, it always helps to hear the original recording. And with today’s technology, it’s pretty simple to make CD or digital copies for everyone. The problem is….without permission, it’s not legal. It violates Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Law, which gives the copyright owner the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the copyrighted work.
So what’s a church music/choral director to do? Buy CDs for everyone? Ask everyone to get their own digital download at 99 cents per song? And what about the “listening CD” that comes with the packet of choral and orchestral scores? Usually there is only one copy.
Fortunately, there is now a realistic solution. Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) has recently announced the launch of the Church Rehearsal License, providing legal coverage for church music and choir directors to copy and share commercial recordings with their musicians and vocalists.
“The time for this history-making resource has finally come,” said Howard Rachinski, President/CEO of CCLI. “It’s so helpful for worship teams and choir and orchestra members to hear an original recording as they learn a new song. And for years, churches have been looking for a legal solution that’s simple and affordable. With the Church Rehearsal License, worship leaders and church music directors can now burn CD copies or share audio files via email, flash drives or on web-based worship planning applications.”
CCLI was formed to provide churches with realistic solutions to complex copyright issues. The Church Copyright License, CCLI’s foundational license, provides permission for churches to copy music and lyrics in a variety of ways to assist with congregational singing. Currently, over 155,000 churches across North America have an active license with CCLI, covering the works of over 3,000 church music publishers and more than 300,000 songs. Globally, CCLI provides license and resource services to over 200,000 churches, schools, and ministries.
The New Rehearsal License Represents over 3,000 Publishers
CCLI launched the Church Rehearsal License in April, 2011, and already over 400 churches have purchased the license. It allows church music directors and worship leaders to legally copy commercial audio recordings and/or share audio files via email, flash drives or on worship planning websites. The copies are intended for rehearsal purposes only, and are not intended to remain as permanent copies for personal use. Annual pricing is based on the number of copies made and/or the number of songs shared. The Church Rehearsal License represents over 3,000 of CCLI’s publishers and over 80 Christian record labels, including Brentwood-Benson, Choristers Guild, EMI Christian Music Group, Fred Bock Music, Heritage Music Press, Hillsong, Hope Publishing, Hosanna! Music, Integrity, Kingsway Music, LifeWay, Lillenas, Lorenz, Maranatha!, Reunion, Sacred Music Press, Sparrow, Spring Hill, WorshipTogether, and many more.
Custom Recordings and Split Tracks
The Church Rehearsal License is designed to cover the copying and sharing of commercial recordings. It does not cover making a custom recording yourself – or recording your own musicians and vocalists – for rehearsal purposes.
But there is an interesting middle ground…commonly called “Split Tracks.” Here’s a typical scenario: a church choir director might take the “Listening CD” from the packet of new choral scores and make a stereo recording, using the full Listening CD audio on one track and then recording a particular vocal line (alto, tenor, etc.) on the other track. The intent is to emphasize a particular vocal line for rehearsal purposes, and to show how that line fits into the overall song. The question is: does the Church Rehearsal License cover this activity?
The consensus among leading traditional music publishers is yes, this “Split-Tracks” activity would be permissible, provided that the copying activity of the Listening CD is properly reported under the Church Rehearsal License provisions.
Church Rehearsal License holders need to report copies on an ongoing basis…on CCLI’s Rehearsal License reporting website. Fortunately, the process is quite simple and straightforward. The album art helps license holders report on the correct recording. CCLI encourages reporting on a weekly basis as part of a regular preparation routine.
Churches that store and stream a library of audio files on web-based worship planning websites will base their reporting on the “first listen” per song for each person (worship team, choir or orchestra member). So even though everyone may have access to all of the audio files of songs from a particular service and even though certain people may listen to the same song multiple times, the reporter only needs to count the first time that each person listens to a song as an actual “copy.” Worship planning software companies are currently working on a system to provide streaming data, which will simplify the reporting process.
A Real World Solution
CCLI has a special website dedicated to the Church Rehearsal License, which covers additional information and frequently-asked questions. Just go to www.ccli.com/rehearsal. If you still have questions, feel free to call the CCLI staff at 1-800-234-2446.
Finally, church music directors and worship leaders can settle the moral dilemma of creating rehearsal copies of songs for worship teams, choirs and orchestras. The Church Rehearsal License balances the needs of churches with the rights of record labels and music publishers. Maybe reality really can match the letter and spirit of the law.
21 days ago
Great Article. Thanks to CCLI for bringing this help to us.