Our praise team records songs on CDs and our church gives them away for outreach. We don’t charge or take any donations for them. Is that okay?

Creating CDs of music performed by your church’s worship band can be a wonderful outreach tool, but if the songs you’re using are not in the Public Domain, licensing is required.

First, it’s important to realize that whether you’re selling the CD or giving it away at no charge, you still have a legal obligation to obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The right to reproduce original copyrighted material is the exclusive right of the copyright owner and requires their permission, so be sure to obtain licensing for each song that is included on your CD. In some cases, the song owner may consider granting gratis permission for a small number of CDs, but they will usually issue a mechanical license for the right to reproduce the song and charge a minimum flat fee or $.091 per CD unit manufactured.

cds-and-dvdsA statutory compulsory license can also be obtained through the U.S. Copyright Office for the right to mechanically record in audio format a song that has been recorded at least once prior to your reproduction of it. The current rate for CDs and MP3s is $.091 per song per unit 5:00 minutes or under.

To make the process easy, you can work with CopyrightSolver’s PERMISSIONSplus Service to obtain all of the clearances you need.

Does your church have a Copyright Compliance Policy? Click here for more information.

The CopyrightSolver answers provided are information, not legal advice. For more information and resources, including fact sheets, videos and idea kits, visit

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