Many of our license holders post their services on Facebook and it is easy to see why! Facebook is already the most widely used global social media platform regardless of region, generation, or technical skill and boasts over 2.7 billion monthly active users. While many churches were connecting with their congregations through social media before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were plenty that had not. Connecting in this way became a lifeline for many communities during this especially challenging time. We heard from countless license holders that they were launching their very first services online, getting WiFi installed in their sanctuaries, and sharing their videos through weekly newsletter announcements. For many congregation members, it was their only way to experience the rest of Lent and the Easter season since the shelter-in-place orders were significant in many regions through March and April. 

With a relatively easy-to-use platform, Facebook can be a great way to connect with your organization comprehensively since their tools not only allow you to post your services, but also to send out other announcements, events, photos, and to host discussions. (We use the word “organization” to collectively refer to churches, schools, retreat centers, funeral homes, hospitals, and other entities that use our service.) Facebook also provides a great opportunity to see what other churches are doing, and attend virtually at a new congregation. That being said, it can be difficult to navigate the often complex nuances of copyright and the ONE LICENSE team is happy to bridge the gap. 

You may have received word of Facebook’s new Terms of Service, effective October 1, 2020. In the rest of this article, we aim to highlight some important elements of those Terms, but we encourage you to read our “Best Practices for Posting Your Services to Social Media” post before continuing on. As our team becomes aware of new information from various social media sites, we update this post accordingly. 

Terms of Service

“Terms of Service / Agreement / and Conditions” types of documents can often be lengthy and difficult to fully comprehend. Fine print and legal language can leave many of us agreeing to terms without understanding the full depth of what they are trying to convey.

The important points to note in this document, in relation to your Terms of Agreement with the ONE LICENSE service, are: 

  • There is no fee to use the Facebook platform or to post your worship services, but you can certainly expect ads.
  • The primary purpose of the platform is for community engagement, though that can come in the form of both non-commercial and commercial entities. 
  • To share content (photos, videos, music, etc.), you must either be the copyright holder of the work or have the appropriate licensing to cover that usage. (For example, taking a photo of your loved one and posting it online is just fine since you are the copyright holder of the photo. Equally acceptable is posting your worship services online if you have the appropriate license, either from ONE LICENSE or the agency that licenses that particular work, artist, or publishing house.) 
  • Facebook does not pay out royalties to the copyright holders. That is the responsibility of the licensed organization (your church, school, etc.) By reporting your usage through our service, you are making sure those royalties are going to the right place. 
  • “If you post or share content containing music, you must comply with our Music Guidelines.” We highlight that section below. 

Music Guidelines

Further to the general Terms of Service, Facebook outlines specific “Music Guidelines.” If you have been a license holder with ONE LICENSE for some time, then you are likely aware of some of these guidelines. 

The important points to note in this document, in relation to your Terms of Agreement with the ONE LICENSE service, are: 

  • The license holder and organization are responsible for what is posted. 
  • The licensed organization must obtain the appropriate licensing to include music featured in the content. 
  • Your account on the platform is viewed as “non-commercial,” meaning the purpose of the account is to share content and that you are not selling the content commercially or packaging the content for commercial sale. Videos and streams should be for non-commercial purposes only and are meant to be viewed by your community.
  • The platform should not be used to create playlists, as defined as a “music listening experience.” There are other services, such as Spotify, that can more appropriately assign royalties for building playlists. Videos should always include a visual component and not be a playlist of music.
  • Perhaps the most important point in these guidelines is this: If you have not secured a license for the music you are using and listed the appropriate license attribution in the description field of the video to show proof of the license, your content “may be blocked, or may be reviewed by the applicable rights owner and removed if your use of that music is not properly authorized.” Simply put, you cannot post your services online that contain music covered by ONE LICENSE if you have not secured a Podcast / Streaming License. 
  • As a reminder, please post your licensing information in the video details field, or as a comment in the comments section of the stream. In addition to the copyright information for each piece, your licensing information should read: “Used with permission under ONE LICENSE #A-XXXXXX. All rights reserved.” You are welcome to substitute the word “Used” for “Reprinted,” “Posted,” “Licensed for streaming,” etc.
  • Facebook reserves the right to limit the countries where your video is visible due to international and regional copyright restrictions. 

As promised, we will keep our blog updated as we learn new information. I hope this content helps make sense of fine-print style language and helps highlight the many ways you are already doing the right things by being a ONE LICENSE license holder and following the ONE LICENSE guidelines. As always, if our team can help, please reach out to us at

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