(pic credit: MoreMud ©2017-2020 by crisbaj. Used with permission)

ATL   Follow Up: Streaming and Copyrights

01 October 2020

This is a brief ‘what we know’ as of now regarding ‘changes’ being made to on-line streaming platforms, in regards to intellectual-properties like music and the licensing rights… and your Churches’ ability to record and stream live services using copy-righted songs.

(see previous AdoreTheLord blog post, “Changes To Streaming Worship Music Coming” with the ‘breaking news’ )

<>Apparently, these restrictions… and the stated possibility of a streaming service like YouTube and Facebook to delete accounts and content over these issues… has BEEN a part of their ‘User Agreements’ for awhile… but NOW, under pressure from the ‘Big 3’ intellectual-property mega-owners (Sony, Universal and Warner), they are ‘putting teeth’ into their approach to this ‘agreement’, mainly due to loss of revenue by live artists not performing much in COVID-season.

That means YES, they MAY begin to selectively delete content or accounts, especially IF the User (i.e., Church) is a big streamer of intellectual-property content.

<>The main ‘violation’ of the User Agreement would be to use any… ANY… pre-recorded music or song in a streaming event. In most cases, this goes un-policed because a young teen girl puts up some Alicia Keys song with her Facebook post, and…  isn’t worth the time and $$$ for enforcement. However, as the lawyer-saying goes, ‘the deeper the $$ pocket, the deeper the risk of legal action’… and SOME churches have pretty deep $$ pockets…

<>It seems to be considered a minor… minor violation for a Church worship band to do a song and record/stream it on FB or YT…

<>Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) does have a modified/limited streaming ‘licensing’ available that covers most of potential content issues, and allows for streaming by live performance… note the words ‘modified/limited’, ‘most of’ and ‘live performance’…

<>CCLI did release a disclaimer statement on all this, saying,

[CCLI quote] You can upload videos to YouTube and similar services provided that copyright owners have the right to monetize and place ads on videos containing their owned copyrights (these terms of agreement do not override those of the streaming platforms)”

from CCLI web site

<>In other words, you might be legal in streaming, but they can still impose penalties on you. You can appeal afterwards, but you may not be successful. There is no clear way to pro-actively tell them you have a license and they ignore what they consider violations.

[you can view CCLI products and licensing at https://us.ccli.com/    ]

<>There have been a few other insightful updates on this topic:


What IS being hotly discussed is the question, “what can we (churches) do pro-actively to avoid having content taken down, or our accounts banned?”

Good question…

Some of the ‘big’ players already have a direct conversation with FB and YT [Bethel, PassionChurch, Elevation, Hillsong, etc.], so the platforms know about their copy-right situation and appropriate payments and licensing are being handled. Besides, 90% of what they do is their OWN material…

Many groups are ‘scrubbing’ any pre-recorded, copy-righted music from their streams and programming.

[I’m seeing a number of creative church musicians doing their own creative keyboard-reverb-delay recordings of great mood-setting music for their streams… free of this copy-right wrangle…]

Some groups are putting their ‘streaming license’ number from CCLI or other second-party licensing groups right in their subject titles on the Stream… title pages, caption lines, ect.

Other groups are putting up a pre-stream watermark page with the licensing info.

Will all this ‘prevent action’ by the platforms?? Unsure.

One blog post suggests that Churches should be able to contact the platforms and ‘plead their case’ with licensing info and other evidence IF or WHEN they are taken down. The blogger suggested, however, that the process to do so is quite lengthy and may take weeks or months…


1] Everyone seems to agree – IF you are performing live worship music in your Church live streams ONLY, then just keep on doing what you are doing, purchase the CCLI licensing, don’t tap in any pre-recorded songs or music from any CDs or other music services AND… you will probably be OK.

This should be great news for the 300-peeps churches that are doing humble, on-the-fly work to stay connected during COVID via social media.

[Please take that as a statement of honour and respect, not a put-down]

2] HOWEVER, be prepared that you may get ‘shopped’ and challenged on what you are doing… possibly even blocked or lose access, as the User Agreements stipulate…

written by crisbaj

© 2018-2020 by crisbaj/AdoreTheLord.blog  All rights reserved.

All Scripture references from New International Version unless otherwise indicated.

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(pic credit: MuddyPath ©2017-2020 by crisbaj. Used with permission)

credit: MoreMud ©2017-2020 by crisbaj. Used with permission)

Stay safe, ya’ll! <<<>>>