In light of the global pandemic, many churches are posting their services online for the very first time. What once seemed a far off idea or hope down the line has been come a vital and necessary way to stay connected to your congregation.

We have had a number of License Holders reach out asking for best practices on posting their pre-recorded or live videos to YouTube, Facebook, etc. Working with our publishing colleagues, we would like to offer the following best practices to keep in mind.

Did you miss our deep dive post on our Podcast / Streaming Licenses? Originally published in November, 2017, this post has been updated to reflect the changing times.

  1. A Podcast / Streaming License (either in the form of the Limited Podcast / Streaming License or bundled with the Annual Reprint License) is required to post your services that contain copyrighted music online. If only the sermon / homily is posted, no license is required as those words are the intellectual property of the person who wrote them.

  2. Only include non-commercial recordings in the video of titles covered by our Member Publishers. If a commercial recording is used (like a CD/professional MP3) then the site will flag it. I recommend your musicians recording the music themselves and then adding it to the video if it’s pre-recorded (self-made). 

  3. Include all copyright information (title, composer, author, copyright year, publishing entity) for music used in the service in the description of the video or as a slide / image at the end of the video.

  4. Include all licensing information for music used in the service in the description of the video or as a slide / image at the end of the video. Choose the word or words at the beginning that are applicable.

    Reprinted / podcast / streamed with permission under ONE LICENSE #A-________. All rights reserved.

    A specific example of this is in your Welcome Packet.

  5. Just because a video is flagged by the social media site doesn’t mean you are in the wrong. Many times, rights holders will look to monetize videos or have an additional royalty earned on them by a third party. Some of these are accurate and some of these are bots. A “flag” or a “claim” are very different then a “strike” and you have no reason to worry if a “claim” is made on your account. Remember that copyright varies by territory.

  6. Since ONE LICENSE does not own copyrights and only licenses them, ONE LICENSE cannot “whitelist” your organization. That would be the responsibility of the Member Publishers whose music you are using. You are welcome to follow up with them directly to find out what their process is for this. 

  7. It’s important to remember that public performance rights are distinct from music synchronization rights. Both are involved in the streaming of a musical work online, and having a license with an organization like ASCAP alone does not cover both.

  8. While we don’t know everything about the inner workings of these social media sites, we can confirm that if you are following these practices above (and paying your invoice, and reporting your usage through us, etc.), that you are doing everything you need to do to be copyright compliant. You have every right to dispute a claim.

Photo copyright: Pixabay.  This image is available for download at