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Copyright Issues Ask questions about copyright here. If you answer a question, be sure to include a valid source for your answer. Hearsay doesn't count! :)

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Old Monday, October 31st, 2011, 10:50 AM
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FBC church sued for infringement

Although awareness of copyright issues has grown dramatically over the past several years due to companies like Rightsflow, Christian Copyright Solutions and CCLI, the focus has primarily been on doing the right thing. It appears now that churches should spend more time focusing on the consequences of infringement actions. This summer’s lawsuit brought by Yesh Music against Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church should have been disconcerting to churches. However, Yesh Music’s suit that was just brought against the much smaller First Baptist Church of Smyrna, Tennessee should send chills up the spine of every church who uses copyrighted music.

Read the rest at church.rightsflow.com
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Old Monday, October 31st, 2011, 11:37 AM
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Here's a direct link to the article

Small FBC church sued for copyright infringement
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Old Monday, October 31st, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Thanks! Not quite up to my minimum number of posts prior to being allowed to post links.
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Old Monday, October 31st, 2011, 01:42 PM
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No problem. Copyright enforcement and respect are somethings the the churchmedia.net leadership feels strongly about.
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Old Sunday, February 26th, 2012, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by osborn4 View Post
No problem. Copyright enforcement and respect are somethings the the churchmedia.net leadership feels strongly about.
As the media guy for my church, it's rather simple, if it's not covered specifically under our licence, then I need it documented that it's clear for use. That means either there is a written letter that we have permission to use it or the material is public domain.

The issue is a church the size of FBC probably can survive that kind of lawsuit, 2500 is a large church by most standards. A church the size of mine (we average between 30 and 50 on a Sunday morning, closer to 30 this time of year), would need to layoff the pastor and sell it's building, just to defend itself against a lawsuit.

Case in point, most of the photos used as backgrounds are from my personal collection, nothing personal, just I know I would never sue the church over them. I need to write the letter though the gives them express permission and put it on file.
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Old Monday, February 27th, 2012, 12:45 PM
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most of the photos used as backgrounds are from my personal collection, nothing personal, just I know I would never sue the church over them
Me either. I would at least give them an opportunity to pay the royalties and everyone would get what they wanted and everyone wins. But if the lawyers successfully sue a small church nobody wins.
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Old Monday, February 27th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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We're just reaching out with multi-media promotions for activities at my church. Trouble is, as the Tech Director, I don't see them till they're already gone, because no-one thought to ask.
Well, at our next board meeting, I'll be strongly recommending that everything used for promotion inside and outside the church for our events, as well as multi-media presentations inside the church and web-site content be cleared by me.
More work for an unpaid job, but someone's gotta keep our walk straight, and the ignorance card won't work where copyright and ownership is concerned.
C.
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Old Monday, February 27th, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by cmchamp View Post
We're just reaching out with multi-media promotions for activities at my church. Trouble is, as the Tech Director, I don't see them till they're already gone, because no-one thought to ask.
Well, at our next board meeting, I'll be strongly recommending that everything used for promotion inside and outside the church for our events, as well as multi-media presentations inside the church and web-site content be cleared by me.
More work for an unpaid job, but someone's gotta keep our walk straight, and the ignorance card won't work where copyright and ownership is concerned.
C.
IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer). but I think that being cleared by you, may not be the best idea, if something gets by you, you end up being responsible. Which means you could be liable. What I think it a better deal, is to train the various committees as to how to make sure that material is cleared, it's really rather simple:

1) Is it covered by a licence the church has, such as CCLI?
2) Is it covered by a licence such as creative commons.
3) Is it covered by an implied licence, for example sheet music and performance tracks have an implied performance licence.
4) Is it public domain. Note Mozart is public domain, a John Williams arrangement of Mozart isn't, unless John Williams has expressly stated it's public domain.

If a particular use of a piece of artwork is not mentioned in a licence assume it isn't covered. For example the hymnal gives you an implied performance right, in the church that owns copies of the hymnal for use in a congregational setting. Making a tape (or digital) recording of that service means your probably not covered for the music that is in it. Although tape ministries often do include such things, they are actually not covered. Although distribution is usually fairly limited and the chances of a violation here being discovered is fairly small. The Internet is where most churches can run into trouble. If the licence does not actually mention the Internet, assume it does not include Internet use.

Train the committee, then let them clear their own material, through a committee motion and vote.

One last piece of advice, I stated at the beginning, IANAL, if you or your committee are unsure about whether a licence includes a particular use, find an Intellectual Property lawyer and ask them to look it over. Paying $100 once in a while to check over a licence your not sure about is cheap insurance compared to what a copyright violation suit could cost you, even if you win.

Yes, you can copy and paste this message, make it pretty and hand it out to your committees and material generators.
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Old Monday, February 27th, 2012, 06:40 PM
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You are right, I won't be the end all, we do need to pursue appropriate licensure for sure. I believe we have a CCLI, but we need to sit down with our ministry leaders, find out what we as a church are wanting to do and make sure we look into appropriate coverage.

1) anything we are doing now that includes video is not covered by the CCLI we "may" have.
2) I have recommended we utilize Creative Commons appropriately licensed material
3) exactly what the majority of our present cunundrum is - music.
4) not a problem

I'm a tech-ed coordinator, music instructor, performing musician and copyrighten composer, as well as the chairman of an advisory committee for a video-audio production program at a local county tech school.

I simply need to find out what we have to know what we need to do to be compliant.

C.
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Old Monday, February 27th, 2012, 06:57 PM
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Yeah, all the music we use is explicitly covered under CCLI, we do not broadcast the music portion of our services (message only), and all video is either purchased with a redistribution license (in case it ever accidentally ends up in a video) or it is made in house. We are now also starting to do more music that was written/produced in house (we are lucky enough to have 2 great song writers as worship leaders).

Our worship band produced a CD/DVD recently and we contacted a copyright attorney and the representatives of the music they wished to perform to get written consent.

We actually left off two songs because the artist said it was okay, but would not fax written permission.

But you know, with all that there are two things that I find most churches do (we do not do the first, but I just can't break our Pastors of the second from time to time, especially when they have a last minute flash of inspiration).

1. Using individually licensed software in a site license fashion. Again, not something my church does, but I see it all the time.
2. Handbreaking or using some other software to pull video from Vimeo or Youtube without finding out who the Copyright holder is, much less contacting them for permission.
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Old Tuesday, February 28th, 2012, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esoteric View Post
Yeah, all the music we use is explicitly covered under CCLI, we do not broadcast the music portion of our services (message only), and all video is either purchased with a redistribution license (in case it ever accidentally ends up in a video) or it is made in house. We are now also starting to do more music that was written/produced in house (we are lucky enough to have 2 great song writers as worship leaders).

Our worship band produced a CD/DVD recently and we contacted a copyright attorney and the representatives of the music they wished to perform to get written consent.

We actually left off two songs because the artist said it was okay, but would not fax written permission.

But you know, with all that there are two things that I find most churches do (we do not do the first, but I just can't break our Pastors of the second from time to time, especially when they have a last minute flash of inspiration).

1. Using individually licensed software in a site license fashion. Again, not something my church does, but I see it all the time.
2. Handbreaking or using some other software to pull video from Vimeo or Youtube without finding out who the Copyright holder is, much less contacting them for permission.
I don't think there is much you can do about either, although an annual audit of software on computers is probably a good idea. Once a year you compare the licence records with the computers, and if you find some non-compliance, then deal with it. Either remove the offending software or purchase additional copies.

The problem with Youtube and Vimeo is that you don't need to deal with copyright as part of the uploading process, unless it's changed over the last couple of years. It should ask the person who is the copyright holder, and whether the person uploading has permission to copy it.
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