This excellent post is provided by our ministry partner, Christian Copyright Solutions:

It sure would be nice if one license covered everything churches want to do when it comes to using copyrighted material. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and it can leave cracks in your copyright coverage if churches put all their eggs in one basket with only one license.

It’s probably one of the most common misconceptions or myths we encounter when consulting and training with churches. “Oh, we’re covered for that activity, we have the CCLI license,” is a stock response when talking about featuring music in a concert, special event or a fundraiser. In fact, the CCLI church copyright license does not cover performance rights that allow churches to play or perform music outside of their worship services. CCS’s PERFORMmusic License does cover, however, these types of events and activities.

There are some incredible blanket licenses available to churches, but often times church leaders are not clear on what they DO and DO NOT cover. You can learn more details about available blanket licenses by downloading this free Fact Sheet.

For example, the CCLI church copyright license allows churches to make copies of 200,000 Christian songs for congregational singing in several different ways, but it does not cover playing or performing music for special Easter (or other holiday) productions that are ticketed events or not considered a religious service. It also only covers 200,000 Christian songs, so there are some secular compositions that may be featured in an Easter program that would not be covered.

Where does that leave church leaders? Some may be confused or frustrated by all the licenses, but when you understand the various blanket licenses available and use them as a mosaic of coverage, just like a blanket, they provide your church with the most comprehensive, simple and cost-effective way to make sure you’re legally using copyrighted material.


The right combination of blanket licenses can help churches greatly reduce their risks of copyright infringement, so we recommend that church leaders start out by fully understanding the licenses and obtaining the ones that make sense for their activities.

Another point of confusion we hear quite often is “What is the difference between CCS and CCLI?” Both companies have similar names and both companies were founded to serve the church in the area of copyright licensing.  However, each company primarily addresses a different area of copyright need, offering licensing for specific catalogs or groups of copyrights with different rights.

For example, CCLI license primarily addresses the “reproduction rights” for congregational singing of music, and CCS’s licenses primarily address the area of performance rights for playing or performing music. In most cases, the two companies’ licenses do not overlap or address the same right, song catalogs or activities (with the exception of the streaming licenses).  Read more about the differences between CCS and CCLI.

It’s easy to make sure your upcoming special programs and ongoing activities are copyright compliant by obtaining one or more of the various blanket licenses available, and in most cases you can secure coverage immediately by signing up online.

Please call the Christian Copyright Solutions hotline number 1-855-5SOLVER (1-855-576-5837) to discuss your specific questions and licensing needs.

This document provides information and not legal advice. For more information and resources, including fact sheets, videos and idea kits, and special discounts, visit our North Carolina Baptist page at