One License and Church Support Group

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John Ainslie
Posts: 395
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:23 am

One License and Church Support Group

Post by John Ainslie »

I've just received a circular from One License. It says:
Earlier this month, we announced a new partnership with Church Support Group, a trusted partner and reseller in the UK and Ireland. This new partnership will bring more than 80,000 songs from leading Christian composers and publishers to churches who stream religious services via the CSG platform in Ireland and the UK. A warm welcome to our new colleagues and license holders!
Church Support Group, an Irish company, is the one who brings live-streamed Masses from many churches. (Another UK-based organisation with the same name is something entirely different.) But there is no indication, as far as I can see, that it is a copyright licensing authority in the way that CCLI is and Calamus was. What are these 80,000 songs it will "bring... to churches"?
Dom Perignon
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:50 pm
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Re: One License and Church Support Group

Post by Dom Perignon »

This has given rise to a few queries locally and I have asked One License for further information. I will update as soon as I hear anything.
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Southern Comfort
Posts: 1991
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: One License and Church Support Group

Post by Southern Comfort »

What this means is that the c. 80,000 songs administered by OneLicense are now available to those who stream via — and not before time! For years, this Irish company has been illegally streaming copyright music without making returns and without paying a penny to publishers or composers. Now this will change.

What is not clear, however, is how this will work. In theory, platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, etc, make returns to copyright licensing agencies, and eventually some remuneration may trickle through. The question is how on earth will know the details (author, composer, publisher, copyright controller) of what they continue to stream.

It appears that when churches have asked in the past, have said "This is nothing to do with us; we merely provide a streaming service. It's up to you to make the returns." And this may well be the case, since there is really no way for to know what they are streaming. However, the law states that is responsible, which leaves a big loophole in the middle.

Parishes streaming via YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo or their own platform have so far obtained streaming licences and made returns (if they realised they had to do so) to Calamus, and now OneLicense. cannot, for example, make a blanket payment to OneLicense since Onelicense would not know how to divide up the revenue between copyright holders. The whole situation is a mess.

In the midst, of this, with many more questions arising, OneLicense have just terminated their 16-month arrangement with Nick Blackford to smooth the transition from Calamus to OneLicense, just at a time when there are many questions arising from parishes. Now there is no one in the UK to telephone about any of this. The only way for most people to communicate with OneLicense is via email to an organization that is in a time zone 6 hours behind. Parish secretaries are thin on the ground and stretched, and they need someone to talk to about this. What that means in practice is that diocesan advisors are taking up the slack, being bombarded with questions from parishes and in effect doing an unpaid job for OneLicense in this regard.
Southern Comfort
Posts: 1991
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: One License and Church Support Group

Post by Southern Comfort »

Just an update to say that I have a Zoom call with the OneLicense people scheduled for this Friday and hope to get answers to a number of questions then.

In the meantime, it seems clear at present that our new "local" contact will be someone at CSG in Ireland. The plan appears to be that they will administer copyright and streaming licences on behalf of OneLicense, but how this will work is far from clear, especially for those who already have reproduction and/or streaming licences direct with OneLicense in the USA.

More when I have discussed this and other questions with them. If anyone has any points that they would like raised, please post here. I already have a list of concerns in six areas, but there may be other issues I have not heard/thought about.
Southern Comfort
Posts: 1991
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: One License and Church Support Group

Post by Southern Comfort »

Correction: Zoom call now scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday. Watch this space....
Southern Comfort
Posts: 1991
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: One License and Church Support Group

Post by Southern Comfort »

Following my conversations not only with OneLicense but licence holders and diocesan personnel in the UK, I am now in a position to offer a digest which I will will prove useful.

1. British Isles statistics

Total number of UK reproduction licences = approx. 1400

Total number of UK streaming licences = approx. 350, which may indicate that some parishes could be streaming without an appropriate licence.

Church Support Group (CSG) have a customer base of approx. 300 churches, mostly in Ireland and the UK, via their streaming service

Total number of Irish Republic reproduction licences = approx. 85

Total number of Irish Republic streaming licences = approx. 25

2. Church Support Group and OneLicense

2a. CSG will shortly be able to offer OneLicense licences to its customer churches, making it a “one-stop shop” for parishes who use to stream liturgies.

2b. NB: This would of course only cover OneLicense material. Parishes streaming CCLI material would need a separate CCLI licence. Be aware that some material is common to both agencies, so you may not need a separate CCLI licence if the same material is also available under OneLicense.

2c. Anyone using who already has a OneLicense licence does not need another one. They can continue with their licence direct with OneLicense if they wish — no problem. Or they can change to do it via CSG. It makes no difference. Reporting usage still needs to be done direct with OneLicense whichever method is used.

2d. If you don’t use the facilities of to stream, you should continue to licence your stream through OneLicense as now.

3. Reporting

3a. OneLicense will consider encouraging parish secretaries to liaise with their musicians, since secretaries often do not have the details of what is being reproduced or streamed. In some cases, musicians are already included in the parish OneLicense account details so that they can make the online reports on behalf of the parish. It’s often easier for musicians to do the reporting, and can relieve the burden from hard-pressed secretaries. It also encourages the culture of reporting, which is an essential part of the way that these licences work.

3b. OneLicense sends out reminders to licence-holders if no report has been received for two months or more. If a parish indicates that because of no assembly singing they are not making use of the licence, the reminders will be less frequent. There is always the facility in a report to indicate no usage, but a number of parishes have simply failed to report at all instead of indicating zero usage. (NB: see also 4b below.)

3c. During reporting, the OneLicense search engine does not always find what you are looking for, even if you type in the correct title, composer name and publisher. When this happens, there may be an error in the OneLicense database, or the publisher may not have uploaded the title. The success of the search engine may also depend on where you are located. For example, some titles are administered by different people in different countries. If the database thinks you are in a different country from the one registered for the title in the database, it can give a false return. Parishes should report titles they cannot find so that OneLicense can manually add them to the database if they are not already there, and it will also be helpful to email OneLicense separately with details of those same titles. You do not need to give all the details (year of publication, or even the publisher), if you don't know these. Just the title, author, composer will suffice.

3d. NB: An initial search may bring up no result, while a second identical search can find what you are looking for. Yes, it’s really frustrating!

4. Different kinds of licences

4a. Many parishes have not been able to use their reproduction licences for 7 months or more because there is no assembly singing and therefore no service sheets are being printed. Before he left, Nicholas Blackford (ex-Calamus) was granting extensions to reproduction licences on behalf of OneLicense, and OneLicense will continue to grant such extensions on a case-by-case basis. But parishes need to ask. It won’t happen automatically.

4b. However, some parishes integrate extracts from service sheets or include copyright texts or music lines within a streamed presentation. It’s important to realise that if you do this you do need a reproduction licence in addition to your streaming licence, even if you are not actually printing service sheets. In other words, projecting a visual image is not the same as transmitting an audio or video performance.

4c. A number of parishes are purchasing all kinds of licences that they do not actually need because they are frightened of breaking the law. So they are buying CCLI licences even if they use no CCLI music, CCLI video licences (see below), LOML or PPL licences (both of these because PRS does not seem to understand that churches (i) are mostly not performing or streaming copyright classics or pop and (ii) are already covered for liturgical usage by OneLicense and/or CCLI). The only time you would need a Limited Online Music Licence is if you decided to include a recording of a copyright pop or classical piece — for example, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending — in your stream.

4d. NB: CCLI’s use of the term video licence has caused a lot of confusion. This licence allows a parish to project film clips during a liturgy, which no Catholic church is currently known to do! But parishes think that if they have a video licence they are covered for streaming because they are video’ing something. They aren’t. “Video” in this case refers to playing a video, not making a video. A streaming/podcast licence is required, and if your parish does not use any CCLI material the licence would be with the wrong agency in any case!

5. Facebook, YouTube, etc

5a. Those streaming via Facebook, YouTube or Vimeo, to give just a few examples, are not covered by those platforms’ own licences. Users need to have their own streaming licence from OneLicense and/or CCLI.

5b. In order to prevent streams being shut down by those platforms, it is a good idea not only to include licence numbers on the opening screens of a stream but also in the comments. The reason that most streams have been shut down is because of problems with incorporating commercial recordings into their streams. See section 6 below for more details.

5c. In some cases, streams from religious communities have been shut down because, although they were only singing their own home-composed music, Facebook could not identify those pieces. Once again, including copyright details of homegrown music on your opening screens should prevent this from happening.

6. Including pre-recorded material in a live liturgy or a livestream

6a. You can include your own performance of a copyrighted item (for example, a Bob Hurd song) if you have a streaming licence, because live performances of copyright music during a liturgy are exempt from performing and mechanical rights.

6b. This is also true under the podcast provisions of streaming licences for pre-recorded liturgies — some churches record Mass during the week for transmission on Sunday.

6c. So parishes making their own virtual choir recordings, whether audio or video, are covered by the streaming licence, no matter if the stream is live or pre-recorded.

6d. What is not covered is playing a commercial recording of a copyrighted item (i.e. the publisher’s own recording, often to be found on YouTube) in a live liturgy or a streamed liturgy. In order to do either of these, you have to get permission direct from the individual publisher who controls the copyright and/or the recording. OneLicense’s contracts with its member publishers do not allow them to give this permission on the publisher’s behalf. Normally, publishers do not have a problem with granting permission. You should put a note on your stream to indicate that permission has been granted. See also 4c above.

7. Common misconceptions

7a. Parishes need to be aware that
(a) they need a licence to stream copyright material, and
(b) they need to report streamed usage.

Some parishes seem to think that if they have a reproduction licence they are covered for streaming. They aren’t.
Others even think that if they have the Laudate hymn book in the pews they can therefore run off as many service sheets containing copyright material as they like without needing a licence. This is not true either.

7b. One of the most frequent misconceptions has been that because Calamus was operated by Decani Music, and Laudate was also published by Decani Music, therefore everything in Laudate was covered by Calamus. This was never true, and is still not the case. Not everything in Laudate is covered by OneLicense. Check the copyright-holder against the list of member publishers of OneLicense.

8. Communicating with OneLicense

8a. It is envisaged that, in succession to Nicholas Blackford of Calamus, there will be a “local” contact person at CSG in Ireland. Such a person is being trained at this moment. Since Ireland is an international call from England, OneLicense will encourage CSG to explore the possibility of obtaining an 0800 or similar freephone number accessible from the UK.

8b. However, it is always possible to contact OneLicense direct. They are very prompt at answering emails, and this is the preferred method of communication. The address to use is

9. Diocesan and group licences

9a. It appears that no UK diocese has a diocesan licence (one Irish diocese is currently negotiating for one), but a number of English dioceses do have a group licence covering all their parishes. This still requires individual parishes to report their usage direct to OneLicense — do not expect the diocese to do it for you or even know what music you are using!
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Parish / Diocese: OLSD Farnborough, Portsmouth Diocese

Re: One License and Church Support Group

Post by Shaker »

Thank you Southern Comfort for this very helpful summary. Using this I have managed to get our parish administrator to deal successfully with both the Diocese and One License to renegotiate and renew our licence to cover us for reproduction and streaming without any unnecessary duplication or confusion with CCLI. I am now able to manage ongoing the weekly reporting burden with a minimum of fuss. The online search and reporting of One License is extremely easy to use and we are now posting our online masses with hymn words on Facebook and YouTube with confidence that we are operating fully legally and also knowing that our license payments are being directed correctly towards the composers whose work we are using.
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