Does a change in your service’s location require any additional licensing? As is often the case with copyright questions, the answer is, “it depends on the specific circumstances.”
U.S Copyright Law (section 110) states that churches (along with any religious organization) do not have to get permission to perform or play music (or a non-dramatic literary work) during a religious service at a place of worship or other religious assembly.
If your church holds services outdoors on your church campus or in some other venue owned by the church, the above-mentioned Religious Service Exemption should apply. However, if you conduct service in a public place, the lines are not so clearly drawn. While the purpose of your presence at the new venue may be worship, if it is a place (such as a beach or park) where the public moves freely, a performance license would be required. If the location, typically, hosts public performances, such as a park amphitheater, check with the facility operators to see if they already have performance licensing in place. Otherwise, you’ll need to secure performance licensing on your own.
church performance license covers you for 16 million songs in the ASCAP, BMI and SESAC catalogues at all of your facilities, including your satellite campuses, and even travels with you to other venues.
Promote and Advertise
Whether your services will be held in your church sanctuary or in some other location, be sure people know where and when to find you. Take advantage of inexpensive ads in local papers, ask church members to post signs in at their places of business, post flyers at local restaurants, or place information in hotel rooms.
Perhaps one of the greatest ways of advertising is through one-on-one, direct invitation. Create CDs or DVDs of your church’s musical presentations or services, or print bookmarks or flyers with your church’s address, contact information and service times and give a handful to each church member to hand out to family, friends and neighbors.
If you decide to create CDs or DVDs, be sure to secure the appropriate licensing. Even though your church may not profit financially, it is still the copyright owner’s right to grant or deny permission for their material’s use and to be paid for its use. For any song your church performs on a CD or DVD, you will need a synchronization license. In addition, if you use any master recordings, you will need to secure master synchronization licensing.
CopyrightSolver can help you secure the sync licensing you need for these projects through our PERMISSIONSplus
Personalize Your Approach
During the summertime, even many “regulars” may become scarce. This is a wonderful time to extend a personal invitation to newer members or seekers to participate in some way. Nothing helps people become involved more than feeling needed. Just be careful give them the opportunity to consider their response without pressure.
Whether you are, yourself, a volunteer or a paid member of the staff, a sure way to keep volunteers happy and consistent is to show your appreciation and say “thank you” often.
Focus on Children and Youth
If your church, traditionally, ends their youth and children’s programs for the summer to correlate with the school year, you may want to reconsider. The commitment to get the children to classes and events is sometimes a motivating factor for parents to get the family to church. The sudden absence of that commitment may contribute to a drop-off in church attendance.
Another great reason to keep your kids’ programs up-and-running during the summer is that children have lots of free time and parents are looking for ways to combat boredom. It’s the ideal time to launch new programs and creatively boost existing ones. As you offer the Gospel alongside great, fun activities, kids will invite friends, and parents will appreciate your church’s efforts to provide a safe, Christian summertime activity for their kids. One of the wonderful side effects of a vibrant youth programs is that, often the children and youth begin to bring their families to church for services, increasing your summertime—and year-round—attendance!
Another great summertime standard of many churches is Vacation Bible School. Often, these programs attract people into your church who have never before walked through your doors. Don’t just focus on that week and hope they come back. Throughout the week, send information about your church and youth events home with the kids. Instruct leaders and volunteers to make a point of connecting with visiting moms and dads to personally invite them to continue to attend your events. Have a system in place to touch each family with a personal thank you for attending.
Although VBS and other youth events are often conducted in your worship facility, they are not worship services and, therefore, copyrighted songs performed would require performance licensing. You can contact copyright owners directly on your own or secure a CopyrightSolver PERFORMmusic
license. If you create practice CDs for the children to have a keepsake of the week’s VBS songs, sync and/or master sync licensing (as discussed above) would be required. CopyrightSolver can help simplify the process for you through their PERMISSIONSplus
If you have questions about any of the copyright compliance requirements for your summertime services or programs, please call the CopyrightSolver hotline number (877-947-9687) to discuss your specific licensing needs.
This information is only intended to be an overview. This document provides information and not legal advice. For more information and resources, including fact sheets, videos and idea kits, visit our Detroit Conference page at www.copyrightsolver.com/detroitumc