Are you one of those ahead-of-the-game church musicians who finalizes their Advent and Christmas plans in July? Or are you just beginning to flesh out your ideas for future liturgical seasons? No matter which season you are planning, if your church shares its worship services online, there is no time like the present to begin researching copyright permissions — especially for your choral and instrumental music. Give yourself and our Member Publishers the gift of time! Complete your Advent and Christmas manual submissions well in advance to ensure you have plenty of time to obtain the permissions you need.

Remember that you only need to report copyrighted titles from ONE LICENSE Member Publishers that you are reprinting or using in an online service. Works in the public domain do not require copyright permissions, so you do not need to report their use. If you are not sure how to determine whether a piece is in the public domain, take a look at our Understanding Public Domain blog piece for assistance.

Also, remember that your license permissions do not cover titles copyrighted by entities who are not ONE LICENSE Member Publishers, so you will need to contact those copyright holders directly for permission to use their work(s). Here is a helpful resource that explains what you should report through your ONE LICENSE account: Basics on Reporting.

You have likely noticed significantly more choral and instrumental works in the ONE LICENSE database than in previous years. In response to increased podcast / streaming demand, our Member Publishers have been working diligently to add their choral and instrumental copyright titles to the database. Our database now includes nearly 200,000 titles from our Member Publishers

If you are struggling to find the title you want to use, it could be that it is in the database, but you need a better search strategy to locate it. We recommend searching the database by title and contributor last name together in the TITLE field. This is the most efficient way to search the ONE LICENSE database. 

You can find more tips and tricks for searching the database here: How To Search. For those License Holders searching and reporting Mass and other liturgical settings, take a look at our Reporting Liturgical Settings blog piece. 

As you find the titles you want to use, consider saving them in a list so you can find them again when it comes time to report their usage. For some helpful ideas for using the List feature in your ONE LICENSE account, take a look at this piece: Making and Managing Lists.

If you’ve searched the database thoroughly using the strategies suggested above, but you are still unable to find the title, you can either contact the Member Publisher directly or make a manual submission through your account, as long as the Member Publisher accepts manual submissions (some do not). Once you have opened the manual submission form, select any available week, fill out as much information as possible, and submit your request. Your submission will be viewable by the Member Publisher you have chosen, and they will then Approve, Substitute, or Reject your manual submission. If the Member Publisher approves the title, it will appear as reported in the week you selected. You are welcome to leave the title reported in that week, or (if you utilize the reports for your own planning and record-keeping) you can delete it from that reporting week and make a note of the SKU or add it to your Advent / Christmas list, and then report it during the appropriate Advent or Christmas week when those weeks open in your account. For more information on the manual submission process, look at this article: A Guide to Manual Submissions.

Remember that making a List of future titles now will likely save you time and energy later. It also helps to ensure that you have enough time to secure additional permissions if needed. Furthermore, you can use the List next year, too!

If you consistently spend more than 15 minutes per week reporting your copyright usage because you are having trouble finding the titles in our database, please contact the ONE LICENSE team at We are always happy to assist and will do our best to point you in the correct direction! 

Photo used with permission from