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Copyright and Fair Use

Copying music; performance in worship

Printed music in worship

AMBS purchases enough printed music resources for the AMBS community (including students, faculty, administration, and staff) to use regularly in chapel.  Photocopying of songs for use in worship will not normally be required.

If AMBS worship leaders want to use a song found in the printed resources for worship owned by AMBS, but the worship setting would make the transport of the resources cumbersome, imprudent, or impossible, photocopies of the song may be made for the occasion. The number of photocopies may not exceed the number of printed resources owned by AMBS. The printed copies will be collected and recycled when the session ends. This fair use does not extend to other groups using the AMBS campus for events. Such groups are responsible to secure their own licenses or permissions.

From time to time, parts for instrumental accompaniment are found in resources that are unwieldy or the use of which presents logistical difficulties. Reproductions of such accompaniments will not exceed the number of accompaniment books or resources owned by AMBS and the participants.

Musical groups sponsored by AMBS or led by AMBS employees for AMBS events will comply with copyright laws. Minimally, this means that only legal copies of music will be used in performances and chapel services.

Music and words taught orally/aurally are not subject to copyright regulations. Copyright laws cover only reproductions in print or digital format.

Performance/display in a worship service

Section 110(3) of U.S. Copyright Law identifies activities that are not an infringement of copyright:

Performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work or of a dramatico-musical work of a religious nature, or display of a work, in the course of services at a place of worship or other religious assembly.

Worship leaders using published poetry, stories, or other published material in an AMBS chapel will have a legal copy of the text present in the worship setting. Readings and other public performances in the context of worship are permitted unless the copy used is not lawfully made.

The display in a worship setting of a copy of an original work, for example, a projected image, may be considered fair use.  The copy should not be further distributed without additional fair use analysis.

AMBS license agreements

Music or words for worship that are reproduced in any format (for example, on paper or projected) must be covered by a license agreement. The AMBS license number must appear with the music and words. If the music or text is not covered by the license agreements AMBS has purchased, they may be reproduced only if permission has been obtained.

AMBS purchases copyright license agreements on a yearly basis, so that some words and music not found in the print resources owned by AMBS may be used for worship. Licenses purchased by AMBS cover normally planned campus worship. The licenses also cover AMBS-sponsored events with attendance numbers not exceeding 250 worshipers. Events with larger attendance need separate license arrangements. Events sponsored by other organizations but held on the AMBS campus are not covered by AMBS license agreements. To comply with U.S. copyright law, planners for such events must make their own arrangements for reproducing music and words.

The assistant to the campus pastor manages the licenses; makes information about the licenses known to students, faculty, and staff; and reports to the licensing organizations about the use of songs reprinted under the copyright conditions. Information about the license agreements—including information about publishers and artists covered by each license—is available to all students, faculty, and staff through AMBS Central (Copyright - Music Licenses).

Display of license information

If the text you are distributing is covered by a purchased license, the information must be on the bottom of the printed page or projected screen image:

Resource covered by OneLicense (includes all GIA materials)

[Copyright date], [Company], All rights reserved
OneLicense.net License #A-702864

Resources covered by CCLI

[Copyright date], [Company], All rights reserved
CCLI #1515550

The remainder of this page provides more detailed information on music and performance in worship, distributing copies and AMBS licenses as well as some exceptions to this requirement.

Term of copyright for music

The term of copyright protection is the same for musical compositions as for other created works.  New arrangements of older works may be protected from the date the arrangement was created even after the copyright of the original work has expired.

See How long does copyright protect a work? for more specific information on duration of copyright protection.

Distributing recorded music on the Internet

Music recorded during AMBS chapels as a normal part of the chapel recording process will not be distributed over the Internet, through AMBS publication materials, or in any other form without securing copyright permission or purchasing an appropriate license. Licensing agreements that permit music performance do not normally include the secondary distribution of recorded music.

Distributing worship resources in class

Copies of printed words and music that are made for distribution in AMBS educational settings are subject to copyright law. Copies for classroom use can be made under the fair use provisions of the U.S. copyright law. The statement of fair use attached to these print copies will indicate that reproduction of the work for public worship is potentially infringing.