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Can churches put worship services on YouTube and Vimeo?
Many churches have considered using free video hosting services such as YouTube and Vimeo to stream their services. The churches who have investigated the copyright implications have discovered major problems with this course of action. YouTube and Vimeo are not options for putting worship services with music online legally.
In order to webcast performances of music, a church needs internet performance licenses from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
Webcasting performances of copyrighted songs requires that royalties be paid to the song’s owner. Almost all song owner’s in the US have contracted with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC to issue licenses, collect royalties and prevent infringement.
Both YouTube and Vimeo make it clear that it is the responsibility of the person posting the video to get all required licensing
“You shall be solely responsible for your own User Submissions and the consequences of posting or publishing them. In connection with User Submissions, you affirm, represent, and/or warrant that: you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize YouTube to use all patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights in and to any and all User Submissions to enable inclusion and use of the User Submissions in the manner contemplated by the Website and these Terms of Service.”
“You further represent and warrant that (i) you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents and permissions to use and authorize VIMEO to use all patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights in and to your video or Submission to enable inclusion and use of the video or Submission in the manner contemplated by this TOS;”
Churches can not get licenses from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for music performances on YouTube and Vimeo
ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are not currently issuing licenses for playback on self-publishing sites like YouTube and
Vimeo. Churches who have sought out these licenses have been unable to acquire them. Currently, the owner of a website url (www.website.com) is the only party who can get these licenses for music played on that url.
The only way for churches to obtain licensing from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for their webcasted performances is to put it on their own website.
Churches can legally webcast their performances of copyrighted music from their own website with the WORSHIPcast license from CCS. The WORSHIPcast license provides licensing from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC in one bundle. Choosing to work with a video hosting provider that is geared towards the needs of the church like 316networks makes the process of getting worship services online simple.
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Dan Rector (Wednesday, April 21st, 2010)
Also remember that if the church is performing only music for which it owns the copyright it may do what it will with the service.
This may be a rare occurrence but is a possibility nonetheless.
(Non-lawyer and not a spokesperson.)
Thanks for the clarity on this topic. I assume that social networking sites fall into the same category.
But, what if video of a worship service is actually hosted and played from a Church's Media Player (with a WorshipCast License), but the video is embedded on a site such as Face Book (such as how YouTube videos can be embedded in a status update). Would that content be covered under Worship Cast?
We have a paid subscription with Vimeo which allows us to hide our videos from Vimeo and anyone that comes on our page. No one but our domain is allowed to embed the videos. Is it legal for us to (with a worshipcast license) embed videos on our site?
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WORDpictures (Monday, September 6th, 2010)
We have an online video channel and this allows us to link to youtube videos. What I am doing is to create a separate worship channel using the videso from youtube as we cannot afford the webcasting fee at the moment. Does anyone know if this infringes teh webcasting copyright law. (These are videos that are already online.)
This can get to be a very complex subject, for example at least in the US there is are differences between a copyrighted piece performed in the service and a recording of that same piece played for the same use. While some generalities can be stated, it is usually best to have a qualified expert in the copyright field address your specific situation.
It should also be noted that churches present some rather unique situations in that they are often the only party involved in any performance, it is not like many other applications where the performer, organizer and venue may be distinctly separate entities. So there is therefore no question of where the responsibility lies.
Linking to youtube videos
Thanks Brad for your reply.
To answer your questions.
1. The worship channel I am creating will link to youtube videos that others have posted in youtube.
2. All of the videos will be of the original artist (Brenton Brown, Hillsong, Third day. etc.
I know it is a bit tricky, Some of Hillsongs earlier music were written by Geoff Bullock and they are made available under the creative commons license.
I have spoken to Christian Copyright Solutions and buying a license from them will not help us. They cover churches that are performing the artists song.
I am waiting to hear from Songselect after the holidays.
Many thanks and Blessings
I believe that at least in theory, as part of the posting process the party posting to YouTube is claiming to have the appropriate rights. Whether they actually do is another matter. But even if that is the case there may still be issues with the playback being a public rather than private performance, that depends on the specifics of the use and any exemptions in the UK copyright laws.
I guess the question is that the videos are in the public domain (youtube) and we are just posting a link. The legality of the link is what is in question.
In response to your statemaent, (I believe that at least in theory, as part of the posting process the party posting to YouTube is claiming to have the appropriate rights.) What if the videos are posted by the ownner, and we link to that video? . For example Hillsong. I guess these videos are already in the public domain already and all we are doing is giving them more exposure.
I am just trying as much as possible to get it done the right way, I will post what I find out from songselect in the new year.
Just to let you know that our operations are now in the US, so we are now operating under US law.
Have a happy new year.