Anytime that discussions turn to the law, things usually get confusing.
It is no different when discussions turn to copyright law.
I do not pretend to be an expert on copyright law.
I only know enough to get by in the daily workings of TPH.
But I may have some information that may be of use to you.
What we are doing by showing both the lyrics and music notation is so unique that CCLI doesn't cover making and showing slides with music.
CCLI, at this time, only covers showing lyrics.
We hope this will change in the future.
What we do not want to see is publishers demanding that churches also pay to show our slides in addition to the fees we already pay to publish the songs.
We feel that would be the same as requiring churches to pay fees to sing songs out of their songbooks.
We don't feel that would be right at all.
- When a song is no longer under copyright protection, it is said to be Public Domain.
- Songs that are Public Domain can be used freely; therefore a CCLI license is NOT needed to use them.
- Any song that was published BEFORE 1923 is Public Domain.
- Assume that any song published AFTER 1922 enjoys 100 years of protection unless the song has been made Public Domain by the author, which is the case with all of Tillit S. Teddlie's songs.
- For all practical purposes, this one fact alone takes us to the year 2023.
After that date, we can again visit this issue and work out the details.
- Just because a song doesn't have a copyright statement associated with it, do not assume it is Public Domain.
- How about "Fair Use" provisions
- The fair use provisions of the law pertain to using copyrighted material in such a way as to educate the public about that material.
For churches, possibly using some of the lyrics of a song in a class may be OK, while copying the song would not.
- The law is not clear on fair use in many cases but it certainly doesn't pertain to the normal use of a song in a public assembly.
- Now to the question about The Paperless Hymnal and copyrights.
We pay copyright administrators for the songs you find in TPH.
In 2006 alone, we paid out over $27,000 in copyright fees.
We are upfront with the copyright administrators in explaining how our users will be employing their songs.
They have the understanding that our users will be allowed to use the PowerPoint songs in TPH in their assemblies without having to pay additional fees to use those songs.
This is the same situation that churches have always enjoyed when using songbooks.
The publisher of those songbooks got permission to use the songs and paid the necessary copyright fees.
The same is not true when talking about the FullSong files.
Those files are there for the use of the song leaders only.
If a church wants to make additional copies from those files to use as handouts, then this would be the perfect example of where CCLI would come in.
Copies made from the FullSong files would need your CCLI number affixed to the song and it should be reported to CCLI during a reporting period.