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  • Why CCLI?

    I am curious on the need for CCLI? Worship artists travel and play gigs like other bands as well. People buy their cd's and digital music, people buy their song books, pay them if they want to record their songs for their worship projects all of this is the same as U2 or Led Zepplin, with one exception, we (the church) pays ccli for charts (which we can make on our own) and to project the lyrics on a wall. Yes I know that not all worship song leaders can travel and promote their record as readily as say U2 but isn't this about worshipping God? Yes I am all for a craftsman getting paid for their skill. I am paying them, I buy their cd or digital download, I tell my team to buy it as well, sometimes I buy 10 copies to give to them, I go to their concerts and festivals and crusades the same as any other band? I don't pay U2 for leave it behind, but I pay Tomlin for How great is our God? Yes I do pay my license fee and have for 15 years, I am just now becoming curious as to why? I hope it's okay to ask this, I am not trying to be a trouble maker, just a good steward. the money I pay each year could buy a lot of Bibles or make a real repair of existing equipment. Or even buy something shiny and new that furthers the kingdom effort in our world.

  • #2
    As I understand it, Christian musicians don't make near as much money as secular musicians. With that being said, I would look at the licensing fee as our way of contributing to Gods ministry. Whether it be to Chris Tomlin or to buying more bibles. On another note, Tomlin, Brewster, Camp......all these guys, and others, have wrote some great worship music that you and I use routinely in our churches. These guys need to be supported so they can support us with new music to further his kingdom and draw our congregations closer to God through praise and worship. I hope this gives a new perspective.


    • #3
      Okay, the license fee I understand - churches and ministries pay publishers/songwriters for the use of their music, like TV, malls, bars, shops and concert venues do via ASCAP and BMI. CCLI is just the collector for many Christian songs, like these other two agencies do for secular music.

      However, CCLI's SongSelect service could use some improving. They have older songs in any key, but IMO do not keep up with newer material. Recently I searched for an Israel Houghton song (Friend) and found the license # and lyrics, but no sheet music. I had to do the chord chart myself. This is true for many songs that our Praise team uses...

      12/30/2011 - Correction - Tonight I logged into Songselect and was able to find chords and lead sheet for "Friend" by looking it up using the song's CCLI number (4302816) ...
      Last edited by betnich; 12-31-2011, 01:22 AM. Reason: new info


      • #4
        Let's not fool ourselves here, no one is for an artist getting paid for his or her craft more than me. However as a worship pastor I get paid to lead worship and manage the volunteers who have joined the team, I also have the opportunity to book casual gigs in which I get paid to do so. The worship leaders get a paycheck from their home church as well as benefits like health, dental, budgets, etc. Then they get to go and participate in their own concerts/festivals and other events as necessary to fulfill their label obligations. I am not against paying them what they deserve as craftsmen, I am somewhat confused about the governing of ccli. I can't make rehearsal recordings for my team? really? However the majority of my team buys the entire cd or the single from iTunes of the songs we are doing anyways. The artists get their money from various avenues. I pay ccli to project the lyrics? What happens if I don't pay? Again I am not that guy, I will and do pay every year, but I feel the third hand is the problem, not the artists or the local church. They get paid. I am not trying to start a coop just maybe better explanation from ccli as to how much go to artists and how much go to ccli and why not make it easier on our end instead of taxing everything we do.


        • #5
          It is about obeying the law of the land. There are copyright laws in effect, and CCLI is a convenient way for churches to obey the law.


          • #6
            You really need to research the laws governing copyright, licensing, and CCLI. No offense intended (I'm saying this to help if I can) but I'm not sure you've got a very clear picture of the ins and outs of it and that would go a long way in alleviating your questions and concerns.

            As a non-profit, religious service you can perform most anything you wish without paying a dime (a religious service is governed by different laws than those covering bars/clubs with ASCAP/BMI/SESAC. That will change once you start displaying or copying handouts for lyrics in any way. You are paying for the right to display those in a public (even religious service) setting. And then, to broadcast your performance via the internet in any way (YouTube for example) is yet another licensing fee. This actually means even the myriads of "cover songs" that you find there are infringing upon copyright laws (at least the law can be interpreted to say such).

            Having said that, the law is to some degree not crystal clear and can be difficult to legally understand, interpret, and apply as to exact clear intent. There is some ambiguity.

            For instance, you're paying your CCLI license fee. Things don't end there. Are you (generally speaking - not necessarily you specifically) correctly displaying CCLI copyright info within the song that you are projecting? If not then you are breaking the law (MANY/MOST churches fall under this category - out of blissful ignorance but nonetheless...). Those that do: do you put them as "credits" at the end of the service or worship set, or in the bulletin (not legal) or are you placing them on at least one slide within the actual song being performed (legal) {many other churches not in the previous group above who are trying to comply still break the law and fall in THIS category}?

            So we've only examined one little bitty area within copyright infringement and find that an overwhelming percentage of churches, even with intention of godly compliance, still fall short (insert devotion here about the spirit of the law and the letter of the law - the law kills but the spirit gives life). Most of your mega-churchs will be in strict compliance, they're big enough to be watched by people who know this inside out/backwards and forwards. Most of your smaller churches (80+% of American churches) are, shall we say, out of the loop and don't even know they are law-breakers.

            I would equate this to speeding: if you drive 36 in a 35 mph zone, you've sinned, broken the law of the land and are worthy of punishment. Same for 46 in a 45, 56 in a 55, 71 in a 70, yadda, yadda, yadda.


            How many of us speed?


            This is not to advocate cutting the corners of copyright licensing (or speeding).

            Do your very best to honor God and to be blameless before Him. If you are sitting on a mountain of knowledge, you are going to be held accountable for living up to that. Do what you know you're supposed to do as best as you can.

            It doesn't matter however, whether you agree with it or think that things shouldn't be as they are and that someone is being money-hungry and undeservedly grabbing out of your church's budget wallet: if Chris Tomlin writes a song and you use it without complying with copyright laws (either credit-wise or money-wise), you are most definitely responsible - like it or not.

            ALL OF THAT BEING SAID: CCLI lawyers are not going to bust down your door (ala I.R.S.) and seize you for running copyright info as credits at the end of your service rather than within the songs as they should be. In fact, I've even heard that doing so would stand up in a court of law.

            (I didn't even bring up congregation-size fee increases, chart creations, "listening CDs", or multi-campus/multi-site licensing. Don't get me started on ripping other peoples backgrounds (without permission) from the internet and using them in your media presentations. Godly people bring new meaning to Romans when it says that all have sinned and fallen short. But again don't get all bent out of shape.

            And oh, BTW - are your wireless microphones in the illegal frequency band? All joking aside, the punishment in fines for this can mount up to BIG 5 figure dollar amounts quickly and they are beginning to police this in a major way. If you live in a metropolitan area or "government zone" (we in PCB have Tyndall AFB) you'd best correct this sooner rather than later. Spend a grand or two rather than $10,000 per offense (if I remember correctly) and get yourself new wireless mics!
            Last edited by Moosicman; 01-04-2012, 01:21 PM.


            • #7
              you don't have to do that at all....you can write all your own music instead.

              However, if you are going to use someone else's effort and work, then I don't understand complaining because you've got to pay a few measly cents per song?

              what? me worry?


              • #8
                To be clear to Claimusic, you are paying CCLI to play the song- not just to project lyrics. We can't perform music in front of a public audience without the venue (church, club, etc) having a license from the correct agency. It doesn't matter if we do it live or play a CD. If it's copyrighted and it is played in public, a license is required.

                Just to help relate it to other industries, anywhere that plays copyrighted music, etc.in the commercial realm has to buy a license from ASCAP/BMI, etc. For example, a club that plays dance music has to have a license to play that music. If a place hosts cover bands, the venue has to have a license for the band(s) to play the songs- even your U2 example. Karaoke joints have to have a license. Restaurants that show sports games have to have a license to show the games in public.

                If you use a song in a presentation that is given publicly, such as at work, your company has to have a license to use the song in the presentation.

                Most people don't realize the extent of licensing. How many remember the big fiasco about 5 years ago when churches started advertising super bowl parties and the industry got all up in arms and were going to make people buy licenses? If memory serves, the backlash was bad enough they backed off, (or at least allowed it within certain parameters such as projection screen size and number of attendees) but they can legally fine a church that has a super bowl party and shows the game.

                It's a necessary evil of the industry that was originally intended to give the intellectual property creators their due but has gotten a bit over the top.
                If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mike on Bass View Post
                  To be clear to Claimusic, you are paying CCLI to play the song- not just to project lyrics. We can't perform music in front of a public audience without the venue (church, club, etc) having a license from the correct agency. It doesn't matter if we do it live or play a CD. If it's copyrighted and it is played in public, a license is required.
                  NOTE TO EVERYONE: You'll be happy to know that this is INCORRECT. You CAN perform all the music you want in front of a body gathered for a religious service. it is not clear in the quote above because it is equating churches with clubs and the two are not governed similarly; churches (religious services) are EXEMPT. I could search out the actual chapter and verse of the copyright law so you could see it in black and white but that would take quite a bit of legwork that I don't have time to do. So to do what is easier I'll direct you to this link:

                  Select the "Why a Church Performance License" section!

                  Here you will note that religious services are EXEMPT from any sort of performance royalty for music performed within the religious service.

                  You ARE NOT purchasing a license to perform live works, sacred or secular, as long as they are within the religious service context.

                  If your church has a bake sale and the praise team is going to get together to rock it out and provide background music, that IS NOT COVERED by this exemption and you DO need a performance license.

                  But again, as we see that clarity is needed: you DO NOT need a license to perform songs - only to display or print lyrics or reproduce/transmit the performance beyond the gathering. You DO need a license to reproduce or transmit that performance in any way. If your church broadcasts on the local TV station, you need a performance license to cover that unless only the preaching is broadcast or unless you only perform original work. If your church podcasts/webcasts its worship music (including choir anthems that are not Public Domain) you need a performance license. Some hymns are still under copyright so you would need to check that.

                  Please be careful not to disseminate incorrect information on an already difficult subject!!!


                  • #10
                    As to your church broadcasting on local TV stations: I should clarify that your performance may be covered by the station's licensing and one should check with them to see if their blanket license is adequate for what you may broadcast.


                    • #11
                      Ok, well that's different than what I have ever been told- glad that is the case.

                      Thanks for clearing it up
                      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.


                      • #12
                        Thanks guys.