Are you alright with copyright?

CCLI gives churches legal peace of mind by providing affordable copyright licensing for all music use and performances (PHOTO: StockSnap/Pixabay).

In the normal world, when the COVID-19 lockdown is over, churches will once again gather for worship services just like in old times. Aren’t we looking forward to that? Especially to the joy and edification of singing together. This present lockdown gives pastors, song-leaders and church administrators an opportunity to do some necessary ‘housekeeping’ in preparation for the coming Open Season.

Let every church ask itself: Are we alright with copyright? Fortunately, we have the services of Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). It frees us from the task of getting permission to sing each of our chosen songs. Churches with a valid Church Copyright Licence can reproduce any of the authorised songs with the assurance that these are all done with the necessary permissions in place.

In short, the church’s responsibility is twofold: renew the Church Copyright Licence annually and report the songs regularly throughout the year.

To legally benefit from this service, you much check the following boxes:

1. Register your church with CCLI

2. Choose one or more of the following available licences:

  • Church Copyright Licence (CCL) – to project, print or record authorised songs
  • Music Reproduction Licence (MRL) – to photocopy or digitally share sheet music from authorised publications or websites
  • SongSelect – Access to lyrics, chord sheets, lead sheets and vocal sheets of songs
  • Church Video Licence – use of full-length films or extracts of films for sermons and ministry activities on your church premises
  • Event Licence – all the benefits of the Church Copyright Licence for events lasting no more than 14 days

3. The song’s copyright information must appear on every song-slide projected or on every song printed. This must include the church’s Church Copyright Licence number.

4. Report to CCLI every song your church sings at every service. Unless you do this faithfully, the royalties covered by your fee cannot be allocated. Do it online here or visit the CCLI South Africa website for more information. For Afrikaans and other language licences, and licences in the name of an individual (eg, itinerant evangelist), contact

Then … sing the songs with meaningful enthusiasm!

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