So, you want to give your team 10 new songs to learn this year.

You buy the songs on itunes, convert them into an MP3 and upload them to PlanningCenterOnline.com. Everything’s good right? Not quite.

For many years it was very time consuming and very costly to legally distribute recordings of songs to your Worship Team. It wasn’t hard to do, but it was hard to do legally. Many Worship Pastors (and Senior Pastors) are misinformed about Copyright Law.

Here are some of the excuses I’ve heard to why it was okay to distribute a copy of a song and not pay for it. Heads up: All of these are wrong.

1.  I’m not selling it.
2. We’re a church – so we have exemption.
3. We have a CCLI license that covers it.
4. It’s not a physical copy, we’re just streaming it online.
5. It’s just for rehearsal so it doesn’t matter.
6. I’ll never get caught – they don’t care about my “few” copies.

I believe most people want to do what’s right but many times they have been misinformed or don’t take the time to find out the truth.

When it comes to Copyright Law, ignorance is not bliss.

Here’s the truth. If you distribute an original recording in any way to any of your team members, you must have permission from the publisher (and pay the royalty fees), or have an original for every copy distributed.

Thankfully, CCLI now has a Blanket License that allows churches to legally distribute MP3’s, CD’s and even give teams access to stream or download songs over the internet. It’s called Church Rehearsal License and if you distribute recordings in any way, you need this license.

CRL has a yearly fee that’s based on your church size. Best of all there are no limitations to how many copies you can distribute.

Here’s a pricing guide. As you can see, it’s very inexpensive when you consider what your getting.

What’s the downside? You do have to report every song you distribute. It takes about 10 minutes a week to report but it is well worth the effort to know that you are doing things legally and ethically.

So go ahead and give those 10 songs to your team to learn. With the Church Rehearsal License you can do so legally and inexpensively.