Church services and copyright

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justMary
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Church services and copyright

Post by justMary »

HallamPhil wrote:Well I sat through the whole thing and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd welcome some advice on what the legal/copyright implications are for live feed transmissions as our cathedral may have this facility when we re-open.


I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, you need to consult a copyright lawyer for proper advice, neither I or the organisation running this can be held responsible for the consequences of the following comments ...

Having got that out of the way:

In general, in most countries, to legally provide a live feed of music on the internet, you need to buy a web-streaming license that covers the materials you are streaming.

CCLI offers such licenses for the materials that they cover (which may not be overly useful if you have a "cathedral style" programme). I don't know if Decani do or not (suspect not, but maybe I'm out of date). I also don't know if there are other church-copyright-organisations operating in the UK, and if they offer such licenses or not.

If you do a lot of modern arrangements the sorts of works that I'd expect to find in a cathedral, it's likely that no overall web-steaming license will cover all of the arrangements that you use which are still subject to copyright. In this case, you would techincally need to get permission from the copyright-owner of every single work that you use.

As you can imagine, this could easily turn into an enormous headache, unless you're prepared to take some risks re operating illegally sometimes. (By analogy: I occasionally break the speed limit when I'm driving to church, and suspect I'm not the only one.)

Another option would be to ask if your web-feed service could be configured to switch the audio track to something offensive whenever music is played, or at certain times that you nominate. Of course this would defeat the purpose of offering the feed ... but it may be better than taking the risk if you think that some copyright owners might want to sue you.

And for other ideas again, you might like to ask the churches whose feeds are shown on this site what their solution is http://www.mcnmedia.tv/ This is said with a definite :wink: ... I'll be very surprised if many of them have addressed the issue at all.
... nb, even though the URL looks odd, it is the "feeds" from churches served by a UK/Irish (I'm not sure which) company that appears to have quite a large client base.


Hope this helps.

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keitha
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Re: Episcopal ordination

Post by keitha »

There are three separate sets of rights that are relevant in the UK (I cannot comment on Eire, but the laws are currently being harmonized throughout the EU):

1. Copyright - the use of original material/layout - applies to everyone (including churches) - so the copying/publication of copyright material requires the consent of the holder of the copyright; there are certain 'bulk' schemes for church use (eg a Calamus licence (from Decani) covers text and melody lines for the works they cover, a CCLI licence covers text only for applicable works and certain publishers (eg OCP and GIA) allow certain texts and melody lines (subject to certain conditions).

2. Performance rights for live music and text reading - these belong to the performers and composers/authors and normally require a PRS licence - but live performance of music in church services conducted by a minister of religion (or ministers) are, in effect, exempt (and this includes live streams from the place of worship).

3. Recording rights for the playing of recordings or live broadcasts - these belong to the publishers of the recording and normally require a PPL licence - but the live use of a recording during a church service is treated as being exempt in the same way as performance rights.

The position is less clear in relation to the streaming of what are, in effect, recordings of live church services. In practice, if they are genuine church services and no charge is made to access the 'recording' no action is being taken and there is generally an assumption that the 'performers' (choir/musicians) have given their consent in some way.
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Nick Baty
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Re: Episcopal ordination

Post by Nick Baty »

keitha wrote:live performance of music in church services conducted by a minister of religion (or ministers) are, in effect, exempt (and this includes live streams from the place of worship).
That doesn't sound quite right, Keitha. Streaming is just another word for broadcasting.

HallamPhil
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Re: Episcopal ordination

Post by HallamPhil »

Moderators, I am wondering whether this topic needs to be separated from episcopal ordinations?

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musicus
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Re: Episcopal ordination

Post by musicus »

HallamPhil wrote:Moderators, I am wondering whether this topic needs to be separated from episcopal ordinations?

Done. Thank you, Phil.
musicus - moderator, Liturgy Matters
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keitha
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by keitha »

Having initially been given misleading information by PRS, I followed up further this morning. The definitive position regarding pure webcasting of religious services containing the live performance of copyright music carried out on a non-profit basis is that a 'limited online music licence' is required. The annual fee is £118 plus VAT where there are less than 180,000 (!) streams per annum. For more details see http://www.prsformusic.com/loml.

I am not yet able to deal with webcasts of religious services containing the playing of recorded copyright items (not something the Society would encourage!), as PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited), which is the licensing authority for such matters, has not yet confirmed its position on this. It is likely that this will be clarified next week, so more then.

Please note that CCLI (which administers performance licensing on behalf of PRS in respect of performances inside churches which are not part of religious services) has no role to play in relation to webcasts.
Keith Ainsworth

Southern Comfort
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by Southern Comfort »

My understanding of the Portsmouth webcast is that (a) it was a religious service, and so exempt as already mentioned, and (b) it was essentially a private act, done for the benefit of schools (especially) and parishes around the diocese. As such, it was exempt from the requirement to pay for performance rights. The fact that others may ultimately have been able to access the webcast is incidental.

I understand that the cathedral, like the many other churches on the Irish hosting company's website, will now regularly use the same technology for the purposes of webcasting its Sunday liturgies into the homes of people who are sick and housebound — once again, an exempt usage.

As a registered charity, a diocese is treated differently from a commercial concern. When a company such as EWTN transmits a webcast, the primary motive is profit, with the diffusion of an act of worship only in second place, and therefore charges become payable.

It is worth noting that the whole question of Safeguarding issues in relation to webcasts is something that no one seems to have thought about yet.

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contrabordun
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by contrabordun »

SC, are you saying that the charitable exemption arises as of legal right or simply through the choice of the copyright holder?

If the latter then every rights holder is free to choose their own policy on this, a potential minefield for people trying to do the right thing.

IIRC, even the use of material gratis within a religious service is technically down to the copyright holders' decision (albeit a commercially based one in that they'd never sell anything if they tried to make their customers pay for using the material in church!)
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Southern Comfort
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by Southern Comfort »

contrabordun wrote:SC, are you saying that the charitable exemption arises as of legal right or simply through the choice of the copyright holder?


There is no legal right to exemption. All live performances are legally subject to the collection of the appropriate fees, but the PRS declines to collect revenue on acts of worship, stating that they consider them to be exempt; and to this extent, since the PRS is operating on behalf of the owners of the rights, it could be said that those owners are tacitly complying with this view.

The exception to this is broadcast acts of worship, where performance royalties are payable via the PRS.

The question we are discussing, I think, is whether a webcast is the same as a broadcast,
(a) especially if the webcast is not in itself intended for public consumption but merely utilises the web as a convenient way of getting the feed to the church's "private" associates, and
(b) if the person or agency responsible for the webcast is a church or other charitable organisation, rather than a "commercial" radio or TV station or other body utilising the web for profit, even if indirect profit.

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Nick Baty
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by Nick Baty »

But it is on a public website, SC, whether intended for public consumption or not.

I've been dropping in in one church every Saturday night to hear if they've yet played the right chord n a Holy of mine - guitarist seems to prefer G to B7. The downside of such broadcasting is that everyone hears what you are up to. If anyone is feeling down about music in their own parish, it's worth having a look around at what others are doing - particularly in Ireland - you might be surprised to see how we'll you're doing in comparison :oops:

Southern Comfort
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by Southern Comfort »

Nick Baty wrote:But it is on a public website, SC, whether intended for public consumption or not.


And therein lies the problem. It's the same thing with hospital radio. It's only intended for the patients, but anyone can access it. In the case of webcasts such as the one we are discussing, no one advertised it publicly, but people happened to find it or heard about it in places such as this forum, and tuned in — from all over the world, in fact.

Something about the law of unintended consequences, like using the Pill to regularise cycles but which has the unintended side-effect of contraception.

promusica
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by promusica »

The downside of such broadcasting is that everyone hears what you are up to. If anyone is feeling down about music in their own parish, it's worth having a look around at what others are doing - particularly in Ireland

Downside - that could be an upside too! Parishes that have healthy liturgical practices and good music can help the housebound through broadcasting online or on TV or radio. Nick is correct to say that Irish broadcasts are very hit and miss - songs being sung in place of the psalm of the day, old eucharistic acclamations (or the dreaded He is Lord for the Memorial Acclamation), and worse. There are some examples of good liturgical practice in Ireland, but you usually have to do an extensive trawl.
Regarding copyright - I always felt that liturgical music is not quite the same as other genres: once you've purchased legal copies, or bought a copyright licence from, say CALAMUS, then performance and broadcasting of the music is freely permitted. But maybe not ...

Southern Comfort
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by Southern Comfort »

promusica wrote:Regarding copyright - I always felt that liturgical music is not quite the same as other genres: once you've purchased legal copies, or bought a copyright licence from, say CALAMUS, then performance and broadcasting of the music is freely permitted. But maybe not ...


There is often confusion in people's minds concerning the difference between copyright and performance right.

Copyright refers to reproducing copies of copyrighted music, either printed or on OHP, PowerPoint, etc. Anyone who has permission from a publisher or who utilises a copyright licence such as Calamus can do that. But copyright permission does not in itself grant permission to perform the music.

Clearly once you have purchased copies of the music, or have made properly licensed copies, you can physically perform the music. You do not need permission from the copyright holder to do this, but if this is in the context of a concert or similar event, whether or not an entrance fee is charged (there are some exceptions for charitable purposes) you do need a PRS licence in order to perform the music legally, and you are expected to make a return to the PRS so that they can distribute to the copyright/performing right holder(s) a proportion of the performing right revenue received via your licence fee. In the context of an act of worship, the PRS waives its right to such fees — this is what is meant when saying that church services are exempt — and no PRS licence or return is required.

In order to broadcast the music performed, whether in an act of worship or elsewhere, once again you do not need permission from the copyright holder, and you only need a licence if the broadcast is outside the context of an act of worship. However, in all cases you are required to give complete details of the music to be broadcast, and copyright holders if known, to the broadcaster (BBC, local radio station, etc, etc) so that they in turn can complete a PRS return, accompanied with actual broadcast timings. The revenue accrues to the PRS in the form of a lump sum that the broadcaster pays annually to the PRS. In the fullness of time, the PRS in its quarterly returns to composers, authors and publishers will recompense the copyright/performing right holder(s) according to a sliding scale based on what kind of media (radio or TV) and actual broadcast timing. Church services are not exempt from this requirement to report all music broadcast.

I hope this clarification is helpful.

JW
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by JW »

I have to say that I am under the impression that musicians, including singers, are entitled to an extra fee if they are to be recorded by audio or video means - and presumably should be asked for their permission for such broadcasts. This is also relevant to the situation where weddings and funerals are recorded. The 'Organists Online' website gives the following summary, which, they say, has been checked over by a legal expert http://www.organistsonline.org/recordings.pdf.

There is also the question of recordings of Sunday Masses made on peoples' phones...
JW

Southern Comfort
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Re: Church services and copyright

Post by Southern Comfort »

JW

I think this is mostly the subject of a different thread, one about wedding and funeral fees (which I think we have already discussed elsewhere) rather than about copyright, performance and broadcasting/webcasting, though I can see a connection with webcasting if you think that musicians on webcasts should be paid double. (But what if they are not paid at all to start with?!)

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