This piece was originally published on October 15, 2021.

A few months ago, ONE LICENSE participated in a webinar for the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO). This webinar, hosted by our colleagues at the RCCO Vancouver Center, allowed us to connect directly with organists working in various ministry settings. We were able to address several specific Podcast / Streaming questions as well as more broad questions about copyright.

Some of the participants in the webinar put together a list of commonly held myths and truths about copyright to share with their RCCO colleagues. We thank our friends at RCCO, and this blog article is inspired by that original list. 

A note for our License Holders: if your worship services utilize copyrighted materials from ONE LICENSE Member Publishers in any online format, including Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, or your organization’s website, you need a Podcast / Streaming License.  

ONE LICENSE offers two different types of Podcast / Streaming Licenses:

  1. The Podcast / Streaming License, bundled with your Annual Reprint License
  2. The Limited Podcast / Streaming License

Take a look at this helpful article to determine which type of Podcast / Streaming License best fits your organization’s needs: An In-Depth Look at Our Podcast / Streaming Licenses.

Myth #1: Purchasing a Podcast / Streaming License from ONE LICENSE means that our organization can use any copyrighted title, by any publisher, in any format.

Truth #1: Purchasing a Podcast / Streaming License from ONE LICENSE does not mean that your organization can utilize any copyrighted title, by any publisher, in any format. 

To determine which titles are covered by your Podcast / Streaming License, take a look at our Member Publisher page. On this page, you can search to determine which publishers are members of our service and whether or not they participate in the Podcast / Streaming License (and any other License Types). If the Member Publisher participates in the Podcast / Streaming License, search for the title in the database to confirm that it is included, and if it is, then report the title. If you are not able to find the title in the database, take a look at this article: A Guide to Manual Submissions, for guidance on the next steps. 

Myth #2: The title our organization is using is from a ONE LICENSE Member Publisher. This means we automatically have both reprint and podcast / streaming permissions. 

Truth #2: Reprint and podcast / streaming are separate permissions. Our Member Publishers control which types of permissions and which titles from their catalogs are included in your ONE LICENSE permissions. 

As outlined under Truth #1, you need to verify that the title is held by a Member Publisher and that the Member Publisher participates in Podcast / Streaming with us. Take a look at this blog article for tips on How to Search. If you are ever unsure whether a piece is covered for the type of use you are planning, please reach out to our team at for assistance. 

Myth #3: Our organization plans to use a title that has a public domain tune paired with a copyrighted text in our online worship service. The hymn text will also be reprinted in the video. We can utilize this title in these ways because we have a license. 

Truth #3: In this case, you do not need permission to use the public domain tune, but you do need permission to use the copyrighted text. Verify that the copyrighted portion is from one of our Member Publishers and that it is covered for the type of use you have planned. In this case, you would need both reprint permission (because the hymn text will be reprinted in the video) and podcast / streaming permission (because the title is being used in an online service). If the copyrighted portion is from a Member Publisher, you need to report the copyrighted portion of the title. You do not need to report public domain titles.  

Since many hymn tunes and texts can be combined in a multitude of ways, keep in mind that you may need to report the text and tune separately. You never need to report public domain titles, but if a public domain title is paired with a tune or text that is under copyright, the copyrighted tune or text should be reported. For more information on public domain titles, take a look at: Understanding Public Domain.

Myth #4: As long as the titles included are from a Member Publisher, our organization can use someone else’s YouTube video as a part of our online or in-person worship services.  

Truth #4: YouTube videos are the creative property of the person(s) who created the video. As a result, even if the title included in the video is covered by your license permissions, you still need the permission of the video creator(s) to use their video in your worship service. If you want to use someone else’s YouTube video, take a look at this article: Using Other People’s YouTube Videos to make sure you are obtaining the correct permissions.  

It is important to note that many YouTube videos are created without the permission of the copyright holder. This is why we recommend securing permissions from the copyright holder of the video and the copyright holder of the music used in the video. We do not recommend sharing YouTube videos in worship if you have not secured both of these permissions.

If you are not able to obtain permission to utilize someone else’s video, consider having your organization’s musician(s) or volunteers create a recording instead.

Myth #5: As long as our organization puts the copyright and licensing information into our worship aid, we do not need to share that information in our online services. 

Truth #5: You should include the copyright and licensing information in all places that you include copyrighted music. For example, if you reprint in your worship aid, include the copyright and licensing information in the worship aid. If you utilize copyrighted titles in your online services, display the copyright and licensing information in the video itself as well as in the video description. 

Here is helpful graphic to ensure you are including all necessary information:

Myth #6: Our organization purchased our hymnals, so we can use every title in the hymnal in any way that we want without additional permissions or licensing. 

Truth #6: The purchase of a hymnal does not give your organization permission to reprint or to share included titles in online services in any format. Purchasing a hymnal gives you permission to use the physical hymnal itself during your in-person services. If you reprint in a worship aid, project onto a screen, or use the titles in any online format (organization’s website, social media, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.), you would need to obtain additional licensing permissions. 

Whenever you are dealing with copyrighted titles, it is important to note that copyright is song specific, not resource or hymnal specific. For example, just because a title is included in an Augsburg Fortress hymnal does not mean that Augsburg holds the copyright for every title found in the hymnal or that those hymnal permissions transfer to digital permissions. Be sure to review the copyright elements for the individual title. This information can be found at the top or bottom of the hymnal page, or in some hymnals, copyrights are indexed in the back of the book. For more information, please see our blog piece, Basics on Reporting.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to copyright so please know that you are always welcome to reach out to the ONE LICENSE team at with any questions or concerns. We are always happy to help!

Photo used with permission from