From my observation, it seems that the majority of churches are not in compliance with their CCLI license requirements when it comes to displaying the copyright information. Merely possessing a copyright license is not enough for your church to comply with the copyright laws. Proper display of copyright information is another important piece of legality. Today, I hope to clear up the misunderstandings of what is required.

As part of the CCLI terms and agreement, you are responsible for including the copyright information on all songs reproduced under the Church Copyright License. If you did not read last week’s post on the CCLI license, please do so. The information that must be displayed is:

  • the song title
  • writer credit(s),
  • copyright notice, and
  • your church’s CCLI license number

Here is an example of a correct display of copyright information:

“Hallelujah” words and music by John Doe
©2000 Good Music Co.
CCLI License # 0000

If you are uncertain of your CCLI number, you can find your CCLI License Number on your License Certificate.

In a printed format, for example a bulletin insert or songsheet, just include the copyright information at the top or bottom of the page. In computer projections, there are several ways that lyrics are shown. Whether you show your lyrics a few lines at a time or you show the full song on the screen, you must include the copyright information at least one time for each song. This video will make things much clearer.

The abuse I often see occurs in bulletins. The church will include lyrics to songs and merely include something like, “CCLI License #777777.”  Some church bulletins I have seen include nothing concerning a license or copyright information at all; others list their CCLI license once somewhere in the bulletin. All of these examples are not in compliance with the requirements and are therefore illegal in their use of music or lyrics in the church. Here is an example from a last week’s church bulletin (I chose an out-of-state church) :


As you have seen from the previous information, you have to include the complete copyright information, as described above, with each song that is included in your print material. The notice can be in a small font, as long as it is readable.

The accurate notice for this song should be:

“Make Us One” words & music by Carol Cymbala
© 1991, 1994 Word Music, LLC | Carol Joy Music (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)
CCLI License No. 777777

As I mentioned earlier, video projection of lyrics must also show the copyright information on at least one slide of the song. Again, the copyright information may be in a smaller font and a different color from the song lyrics so that it will not be distracting. Here is an example:


Next week, I will post information specific to the church musician and the copyright law.