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Different Copyright licensing agencies for churches

I have noticed that churches subscribe to OneLicense, LiSing, or CCLI for
permission to copy texts and congregational music in their worship
bulletins. What is the difference in these agencies? Should a church
subscribe to more than one? Any information you can give to enlighten me
will be appreciated.
Rusty Keesler

Thanks to all the listers who responded. Here is a compilation of those

* We subscribe to OneLicense and not the others because the songlist
matches the worship books we use. I think the best bet is to check out
which songlist is the right fit for you. We are a Lutheran Church and I
believe the Onelicense gives us access to all of Augsburg-Fortress and
GIA products, and I really don't know who else we also have access to,
but anyway, it works for us.

* You'll probably hear from the agencies themselves, but in the end it
comes down to the sort of music that your congregation likes to sing. My
understanding is that CCLI is mostly the contemporary-Christian material.
LicenSing, which my church has had, covers a number of individuals, and a
number of publishing companies. OneLicense, which is more recent, deals
with the more mainstream publishing companies.

My church has held a LicenSing licence for some years. What we have
noticed is that the majority of music reprinted for our congregation is
from GIA - and now GIA has transferred from LicenSing to OneLicense.

Check their websites: (Click on
"church music") and It's also worth reading which gives you a
lot of info. Blessings!

* They all cover different music. For example, we have two licenses -
CCLI and New Dawn. Our congregation likes to sing "One Bread, One Body"
and "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace." These are copyrighted by New Dawn
and not covered by CCLI. Hence, the need for two licenses. Sometimes we
use a piece of music not covered by either of the above (i.e., copyright
by GIA), then I get a single use license from (if the song
is covered under their license). So it all depends on which license
covers what. None of the licenses, of course, give permission to copy
choral music.

* I am choral conductor/pastor. We use CCLI but someone recently told me
that they do not cover everything. My primary use is reproducing hymns
not in our hymnal, or praise responses on occasion. If you wouldn't mind
posting your responses, I would appreciate it.

* The Methodist Church has a very comprehensive website on worship and
music planning, and they have all sorts of resources related to
copyright. Go here
loc_id,19&act=nav_loc for a page of resources, and then select the
Music Licensing Comparison Chart. It's a PDF document that does an
excellent job of comparing the various types of licenses available.

* My church has CCLI and OneLicense.
CCLI specializes in praise and worship music, and is mostly contemporary. covers GIA and OCP (Oregon Catholic Press) which tend to
cater to more liturgical churches. LicenSing has a little of both, as I

Our usage: Mine is an ELCA church that has the LBW in the pews, but went
to a format of printing all liturgies and hymns into the body of the
bulletin. covers the reproduction of many newer hymns in
With One Voice (supplemental hymnal) and the music from Taize, as well as
liturgies by Marty Haugen and Michael Burkhardt.

* The main difference (at least with OneLicense and CCLI... I have not
used LicenSing) is in which publishers they represent. CCLI (the oldest
of the three, I believe) has a huge list of copyright holders under their
umbrella, but that still only helps you if the specific texts and/or
melodies you wish to include in your worship bulletins are on that list.

We currently subscribe to both CCLI and I have found
that most of the publishers of music we are interested in using for the
congregation in our worship services (other than the hymns in our
hymnals) are with OneLicense. For example, GIA, which holds the U.S.
copyright for the Taize and Iona choruses, is covered only by OneLicense.

There are some other differences between the three in precisely what the
license covers, how you report songs usage, etc. I recommend that you
take a look at the websites of all three different agencies to see which
one or ones might be worthwhile for your particular situation, based on
the kinds of music you use (or wish to use). Once you have determined if
the publishers whose music you'd like to use are included, the next step
is to be clear on exactly what the license does and does not give you
permission to do, which will also be spelled out on the website. [Look
for "Frequently Asked Questions" on the website, as they will probably
address much of what you want to know in plainer language than the actual
contract.] Your church pays an annual fee, based on the average weekly
attendance of your (entire) congregation. If you discontinue your
subscription then any and all copies you made under the license must be
destroyed, including song booklets, overhead transparencies, etc.

It is still possible to negotiate such permissions directly with the
publishers (or other copyright holders), so if you anticipate using the
license only once or twice a year, it might well be more cost effective
to just contact the publishers directly. But if you plan to do enough of
this sort of thing to justify the annual cost of the license, you will
probably find using a license far more convenient than obtaining
individual permissions for each use. If you want to use the music of two
(or all three) agencies, you may decide to get more than one license.
If, on the other hand, you determine that most of the publishers you are
interested in are represented by the same license (as in our case), you
may not need more than one.

In any case (at the risk of stating the obvious), you will be limited to
only that which is covered by whichever license(s) you purchase.

* I found the web site for The General Board of Descipleship of The
United Methodist Church very helpful.

Rusty Keesler

on October 18, 2008 10:00pm
I know this is a very old list here, but I want to correct one of the previous comments in the above post: DOES NOT cover OCP. That is covered ONLY by LicenSing. I know this only because I have spoken to OneLicense about this. Sorry. We like to sing several of the OCP songs like Here I am, Lord, and they aren't covered under OneLicense. Perhaps something has changed in the past 2 years, but I wanted to clear that up.

Shelley Reel
on November 2, 2008 10:00pm
Christian Copyright Solutions
Helping Churches and non-profilt Ministries solve the puzzle of copyright compliance. Providing education, administrationand consultation.
on November 2, 2008 10:00pm
Thank you Shelley for clearing that up! I'll do some homework before purchasing that license.