A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Your Intentions are Good for Images or Music, But Copyright Bill is Huge
By JODI SMITH
Director of Connectional Resources
I received a copyright infringement notice in the mail today, along with a hefty bill. I was personally relieved when I discovered the church accused of committing the copyright infringement is not located in our conference, so all I had to do this time was notify the company of the correct contact information for their legal action.
I know it is a matter of time before the bill really is for one of our churches.
I’ve heard people say, “We are the church,” thinking that somehow exempts us from copyright infringement laws. In this particular case, the church got a photo off the Internet and used it on the second page of a blog.
It was a nice photo of the Declaration of Independence on top of an American flag posted on September 11, 2013. We all want to honor lost loved ones on 9/11, including those first responders who gave their lives helping others, but that does not exempt us from copyright laws.
There are companies that troll the Internet looking for violations. I’ve heard of a number of churches receiving big bills for using the poem The Dash on their website, in a podcast sermon or on a notice of a person’s death. The church is then surprised to receive a legal notice demanding payment of a fee ranging from $900 to several thousand dollars, depending on the violation.
Please make sure you are following copyright laws on your Web page, your podcasts, your Facebook posts, your YouTube videos, and the whole host of venues you use to communicate with others. Most images need to be purchased in order to use them.
I continue to hold you in my prayers as you honor God and represent Christ in all aspects of your lives and worship.
Different licenses cover different areas. You cannot purchase one to cover all needs. Remember that the upfront cost of a license is nominal compared with the copyright infringement costs.
Here are some resources for purchasing licenses:
CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) at www.ccli.com
CVLI (Church Video License) at www.cvli.com
CCS (Christian Copyright Solutions) at www.christiancopyrightsolutions.com
OneLicense at www.onelicense.net