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Copyright Limitations on Streaming Worship Experiences

Streaming services online is an incredible opportunity for the local church today, but with that opportunity also comes responsibility. As you’re preparing your online presence, we wanted to give you a few things to keep in mind that will protect your services and reputation.

All churches should possess licensing from CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) that allows them to sing other artists’ songs corporately, regardless if the church has ever broadcasted services online or not.

Below are a few things to note about CCLI licensing as it pertains to worship experiences:

1. You Can Stream Services Online

If you have the CCLI Streaming license, this licensing permits you to broadcast your corporate worship experience online so others can join live. This primarily applies to your church's own performance or version of the song, but many record companies, resource providers, and ministries are currently waiving any fees for digital broadcast of their video or audio recordings. The worship sets Highlands is providing are cleared for digital broadcast, provided you have the proper CCLI streaming license for the songs.

2. You Can Offer Services for Playback

The CCLI licensing also permits you to offer your broadcasted experience for playback on-demand, meaning that people can access the online service after the live-stream has ended. Again, you must be using video or audio performances that are owned/created by your church or an owner/provider that has waived any fees of using the resource.

3. You Cannot Offer Downloadable Worship Sets

The CCLI licensing does not permit you to offer the worship portion of an experience for download unless you are singing all original songs that your church produced. If you want your services to be downloadable, we encourage you to make it where viewers can download only the message portion of the experience.

Please know that while the team at Highlands uses CCLI licensing and has learned the above tips, we are not the experts. To learn more information about protecting your online services and reputation as a church, we encourage you to research CCLI licensing and familiarize yourself with the permissions and restrictions that it grants.

Our heart is to have services available for people to access online during this time, but we also want to make every effort to honor the artists that have produced the songs we use and steward well the resources they have provided for us.

We’re in this together!

Our vision is to see the local church grow in every community.

© 2020 Church of the Highlands

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