Frequently Asked Questions

- Music and Media Licensing

FROM: GBOD, The General Board of Discipleship, Nashville 

The answer to both questions is"yes."An Associated Press release in this morning's (8/1/07) Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean, (p.2E) reports that local authorities recently arrested a man who copied hundreds of CDs and DVDs and was selling them from the trunk of his car. He was sentenced in Federal Court this week to 10 months in prison for copyright violation. At the time of his arrest, authorities found more than 500 copied recordings and films in his car, along with recording equipment powered by his car battery, blank CDs and DVDs, some of which were still being shown in theaters, plus $11,000 worth of illegally recorded CDs and DVDs and $10,000 in cash. The copies will be destroyed and the cash paid to the victim industries as restitution.

 The U.S. Attorney said, “Violations of intellectual property crimes and copyright laws such as this occupy a high priority with both the Department of Justice and this U.S. Attorney's office in particular."

 What does this mean for local churches? It means that if you are doing any of the following without the proper permissions or licenses, you;re in danger:

-          Showing videos at your church youth group, child care, camps, retreats, or Sunday Schools, even if those videos are legally rented or purchased.

-          Showing film clips in worship as sermon illustrations.

-          Video recording your worship services, choir concerts, children's musicals, or anything else that contains copyrighted music.

-          Making audio recordings of services, concerts, musicals, or anything else that contains copyrighted music.

-          Making copies of original recordings of choir or solo music, accompaniment tracks, or by original artists, and giving or selling them to your choir members so that they can practice the music or learn their parts outside of rehearsal.

-          Selling or giving away audio or visual recordings containing copyrighted music, including to performers, parents, members, or shut-ins.

-          Making or allowing the making of audio or video recordings of weddings or funerals in your church that contain copyrighted music.

-          Radio broadcasting or TV telecasting, live or pre-recorded, of worship services containing copyrighted music.

Need help? Look at the information on the GBOD music Web site at,19


Are we the only Annual Conference collecting health insurance premiums and pension contributions through direct billing? - Direct Bill

No.  In fact, many Annual Conferences have been collecting health insurance premiums and pension contributions through direct billing for a number of years.

As a result of direct bill, did our local church apportionments go down? - Direct Bill

Yes, in most cases.  The local church will still need to pay the health insurance premiums and pension contributions directly through the billing system, but the apportionment amount of most churches was reduced.

But, Direct Bill seems to be opposite of our connectional system. Isnt this what the church should do? Allow those who can afford to pay do so for those who cannot afford to pay? - Direct Bill

Yes, and this is exactly what we have been doing.  However, the number of churches who say they cannot pay their apportionments is increasing, while the number of churches that do pay apportionments has been decreasing.  At this rate, only a few churches will be paying for the churches which claim they are unable to pay their apportionments. In order to best fund mission and ministry, a change is needed.

Can I publish the entire worship service, including music performed, online as an archive? - Media and Technology Use

You can perform the work live in your worship service, but you need permission (usually in the form of a license) to publish that performance online.

Can I rent a movie and show it to small groups at my church? - Music and Media Licensing

No.  Churches have faced steep fines for publicly showing rented videos that are meant for home use only.  Even if you do not charge for the event, you are violating copyright laws.  Some movie producers participate in the Christian Video Licensing program, but to be covered, you have to purchase an annual license.

Do I need a new authorization form when I do or redo a background check? - Safe Sanctuaries / Background Checks

Yes. This enables the person to know you are updating the background check.

Do other denominations have property and casualty captives? - PACT

Yes.  From the Assemblies of God and Seventh Day Adventist to the United Church of Christ and Roman Catholic dioceses, captives have become important mechanisms through which the church controls her destiny by assuming some risk, accumulating significant capital (that otherwise would go to the insurance carrier as profit) and building strong risk management systems to minimize the risk of loss overall.  A captive enables a church to do ministry and to do it as the church envisions it without ministry having to be shaped or limited by the concerns of a for-profit insurance carrier.

Do we need to have permission to put people's photos on our church website? - Media and Technology Use

Since most church events are public, you do not need to obtain permission to take people's photos. If you are concerned about permission, then get it if you are going to use a photo of an individual. However, if you are using a group photograph taken at a public event, you do not need to obtain permission.

However, you do want to have a policy about how you identify children and youth. One suggestion is to not identify children ages 3 or younger by name, identify older children by first name only. Adults may be identified with full names. If you are taking photos of children with special needs, you may need to obtain permission.

Does it make any difference legality wise if the church itself purchases the tapes/DVDs? - Music and Media Licensing

No. It's still considered a single user/household *unless* you buy from a distributor that is authorized to give/sell you distribution rights.  There are educational distributors who can sell/lease a film/DVD to a church, both educational and feature films.

Does my church need a music license? - Music and Media Licensing

If your church is using music with words printed in the bulletin, you need a CCLI license or another music license.

The Christian Copyright License allows you to reproduce the words to music covered under the licensing agreement on overhead projectors, in PowerPoint presentations for multi-media worship, or in your bulletin. You may find out more about the CCLI license at is a new copyright licensing venture that offers a multi-publisher annual copyright reprint license for churches. The OneLicense list of publisher-members already reads like the "who's who" of church music publishing, with new publishers signing on every month.

This Internet-based operation allows churches to obtain one-time or annual licenses and rto eport all titles used directly on the impressive website. License fees are equitably based upon the size of the congregation. Find out more at

Does the Local Church Dashboard replace my church's website? - Church Dashboard

No. The Local Church Dashboard was not intended to replace a good local church website. The Dashboard holds only a limited amount of information about your church including worship and Sunday school times, street and mailing addresses, directions, phone, e-mail, web site address, upcoming events, etc. It is used by church administrators to submit forms to the district and annual conference.

DONATIONS - On the first Sunday in January, our church received several checks in the offering plate that were dated December 31 and designated "2006 pledge." Should these be reflected on the member's giving statement for 2006? -

No.  The income tax regulations state that a contribution is made at the time of delivery.  The only exception is if the contribution is mailed and the postmark date is prior to January 1.  You can still count it toward their 2005 pledge, but not as a charitable contribution received in the year 2005.

How can I determine the status of a song's copyright? - Music and Media Licensing

To determine the current copyright status of any hymn or song, you need to know the following:

  • Date of creation
  • Date of copyright
  • For works created before January 1, 1978, whether or not copyright was renewed for a second term.
In addition, you may find it helpful to contact the publisher or copyright holder personally for help or information. CCLI members will also find information, resources, and assistance from CCLI's web site:; telephone: 1-800-234-2446.

How can I get my church's login information for the Local Church Dashboard? - Church Dashboard

Church login information is only available to pastors and church adminiatrators/secretaries. Those persons may obtain their church's login information by contacting your district office Administrative Assistant.

How can I get rid of people who died who still show up on my church's list of people? - Church Dashboard

Each person's record has a place to enter a death date. For people who held a leadership assignment until their death,  you can update them with a death date and give them an end date on the position.

For people who died previously, send their names in an e-mail to Traci Herndon at to have their local church leadership history removed and a death date assigned.

How can I get the Upper Room daily devotion on my website? - Media and Technology Use

The Upper Room dialy devotion is syndicated, which means that there are a few lines of code that can be added to your webpage to get the Upper Room daily devotion on your website and to update automatically. Click HERE to visit The Upper Room for details.

There are several options for the Upper Room feed.

How can I purchase a license to show videos in my church? - Music and Media Licensing

Service by United Methodist Communications enables churches and groups of churches to obtain licenses to show home videocassettes and DVDs  of motion pictures.  The service is the result of an agreement between UMCom and Christian Video Licensing International.  Under this agreement, UMCom will process orders, collect fees (based on membership figures) and distribute the licensing.  Churches with 49 or fewer members pay an annual fee of $45; 50 to 199 members, $75;  200-499, $150;  500 or more, $200. 

The fees will cover Christian Video Licensing International's full producers' list, including its Family Values selection and provide legal coverage for religious institutions to show clips or complete motion pictures in a variety of activities.  The organization's Web site ( includes a comprehensive list of studios and producers covered by the licensing agreements. 

Licenses are available through UMCom's toll-free Customer Service number, (888) 346-3862, or by e-mail at


How can I submit an article or a photo for the "Alabama - West Florida Conference NewsCONNECTION" e-mail newsletter? -

Submit story ideas to editor Mary Catherine Phillips at

How can I submit information for the conference web site? - Media and Technology Use

Guidelines for submitting information for

  • All new material for the web site should be submitted in an electronic format. We can accept information in the following document formats: Microsoft Word, PDF, or e-mail text. We cannot accept files in WordPerfect; but the content of WordPerfect files may be copied and pasted into the body of an e-mail message for submission.
  • Photos may still be submitted as prints but are preferred as high-resolution .jpg or .gif files. Prints or disks should be mailed to Mary Catherine Phillips, 100 Interstate Park Drive, Suite 120, Montgomery, AL 36109.
  • Files may be submitted via e-mail to or on a disk mailed to Mary Catherine Phillips, 100 Interstate Park Drive, Suite 120, Montgomery, AL 36109.
  • All new material for the web site must be submitted through the Director of Communications. 

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