When I was setting up our church live stream, one of the things I didn't even consider was the need for a church video streaming license. We already have the normal license for performance, I didn't even imagine a live stream license existed until one of my board members brought it up.
He was right. There is such a thing as a copyright license we needed if we were going to broadcast the songs that we use in worship. So that set me down another little journey of discovery to find out what we had to do in order to comply with copyright laws.
Why Have A Live Streaming License?
I almost called it a live screaming license. I must admit. The whole idea rubs me wrong. It reeks of money instead of ministry.
When I went into ministry the whole idea was to get the message of Jesus out to as many people as possible. I wanted, and I still want, as many people as possible to hear about him. The last thing on my mind was that I should get paid for every person who hears me speak.
Yet the reality is that the laborer is worthy of their hire. And the musicians do deserve something for their contributions to the kingdom of God. Copyright licenses help provide the royalties that feed their families and pay for their expenses.
And because of the way copyright laws are written, the music companies and the musicians have the right to sue if they find out they are not getting what is due to them.
So as a pastor, it is wise for me to get over my discomfort and feelings that this is about money. I need to protect my congregation from the risk of legal trouble. Instead when a man asks for our cloak, we give them our shirts as well.
How To Get A Church Video Streaming License
If you already have a license for your worship services then getting a license to live stream your services is a rather simple process. If you do not, then you first need to get a copyright license for your worship services if you are using copyrighted songs.
If all you do is sing hymns and do not use copyrighted material, then this point is moot. You do not need a license.
The first thing you do is go to CCLI. They are the company that provides copyright licenses. You can then go to their section about streaming licenses. There you will find out all the details about what is covered and what is not.
For instance, you are not allowed to charge for your live stream or podcast.
Next you go to your account if you already have one, or you sign up and get your worship service copyright license, and then add a live stream license to that account. The cost is $60.00
Once you have done that, then you are set to go with a clear conscience that you are obeying the laws of the land, making sure the laborer is being paid, and protecting your church.