There are two questions that I get asked, probably more than any others.
Question: Can we order The Paperless Hymnal with just the songs in our songbook?
Answer: No. And think about it. If you ordered new songbooks, would you order them with just the songs in your present songbook? Of course not. Besides, a hymnal is a copyrighted compilation of songs. It would be violating the copyright of the publisher of that book if we did. We are not here to redo what someone else has done, but to make a better effort than what has been done. We are not limited to the songs we can print and place between two pieces of covered cardboard. It is not imperative that we get it right the first time. We have more opportunities to include additional songs and arrangements. AND we haven't spent thousands of $$$$ printing, storing, shipping and worrying over all those paper books.
Question: Are we required to have a CCLI license and what do we report during our reporting period to CCLI?
Answer: You are NOT required to have a CCLI license to use The Paperless Hymnal and therefore are NOT required to report any usage of The Paperless Hymnal to them. The Paperless Hymnal has already obtained contracts from the copyright holders or administrators of the songs we use and have paid them for the use of their songs. This is the same situation as your congregation buying songbooks and not having to pay additional fees to sing the songs in the book. AND CCLI does not apply to anything sold anyway. However, if you decide to make copies of the songs from The Paperless Hymnal to hand out to others besides the song leaders, a CCLI license could apply in that case. That is the same situation as you making copies of the songs from your hymnal and using them in your worship.
Here are some facts about CCLI that you should be aware of. They are directly from the CCLI web site.
(1) Print songs, hymns and lyrics in bulletins, programs, liturgies and songsheets for use in congregational singing. (2) Create your own customized songbooks or hymnals for use in congregational singing. (3) Create overhead transparencies, slides or use any other format whereby song lyrics are visually projected (such as computer graphics and projection) for use in congregational singing. (4) Arrange, print and copy your own arrangements (vocal and instrumental) of songs used for congregational singing, where no published version is available. (5) Record your worship services (audio or video) provided you only record live music. Accompaniment tracks cannot be reproduced. You may charge up to $4 each for audiocassette tapes and CDs, and $12 each for videotapes and DVDs.
YOU CAN NOT
(1) Photocopy or duplicate octavos, cantatas, musicals, handbell music, keyboard arrangements, vocal scores, orchestrations or other instrumental works. (2) Translate songs into another language. This can only be done with the approval of the respective publisher. (3) Rent, sell or lend copies made under the license to groups outside the church or to other churches. (It is OK to distribute recordings to shut-ins, missionaries or others outside the church.) (4) Assign or transfer the license to another church or group without CCLI's approval.
CCLI does NOT cover all songs. They ONLY cover songs listed with them. Before you copy a song and put your CCLI number on it, you should check to see if that song is actually covered by CCLI. We have included the CCLI number in the index file for the songs we publish, in case you need to make additional copies. If a song is NOT covered by CCLI and you want to make copies, you must obtain permission and pay any fees asked for by the copyright holder or their agent. The copyright law is very clear on copying music. If you do not have express permission from the rightful owner of the song, you can't make a copy. Also, don't put your CCLI number on public domain (out of copyright) songs. Any song published before 1923 is now public domain.
As you read this, please keep in mind that I am not a lawyer and can not give legal advice. I have included this information to help you comply with current laws and not to skirt them. CCLI does not skirt copyright laws but complies with them by collecting usage fees from churches and distributing them to the song owners. The report you send in every two years help them determine how those fees are to be distributed. CCLI is a fine organization and I, for one, am glad they exist. They just aren't necessary for a church to use The Paperless Hymnal.