In this week’s training mailbag segment, we’ll be fielding additional questions about using Faithlife Proclaim. As always, whether we’ve addressed your questions or not, we’d love to hear from you! Add your questions as new comments below, and we may answer them in an upcoming mailbag segment. (more…)
Imagine that you’re sitting down to put together your worship slides for the weekend. You’ve got the song list right in front of you with some notes from the worship director, but you’ve been dreading the moment when you have to start tediously copy-pasting lyrics—so you stall. You play around with your church media and spend way too much time finding the right motion background for each song.
Now imagine that instead of copy-pasting song lyrics, you type the name of the song into your church presentation software and it automatically pulls all the lyrics from that song onto your backgrounds—verses, chorus, and bridge all on their own slides. The font, text color, and text size have already been formatted to fit the slides.
Oh, and all that complicated copyright information you have to add? It’s already there.
This time-consuming process you do every week takes just minutes when you link Proclaim and CCLI SongSelect.
What is SongSelect?
Even responsible churches can have a hard time deciphering how to honor copyright laws. SongSelect provides your church with blanket copyright licenses for popular worship songs.
Without blanket licenses, your church is legally required to obtain an individual license every time you use a song—even if you’ve used it before. A blanket license is an annual license fee that gives your church the right to use a wide selection of songs as much as you need to. That means you don’t have to be some kind of copyright guru to do the right thing and honor the artists who work hard to provide your church with meaningful worship songs.
SongSelect is produced by CCLI, but you can connect your SongSelect account to Proclaim. That simple step changes the game for whoever puts together song slides each week.
How Proclaim and SongSelect connect
Linking these time-saving tools happens within Proclaim, like this:
Once your accounts are linked, you don’t even have to import song files—just add a “song” item to your presentation and start typing the title of the song you want. SongSelect tells Proclaim what the lyrics are, and Proclaim adds them to your presentation, complete with copyright information.
If you create custom arrangements, Proclaim remembers that. When you create slides for a song, Proclaim saves it in “My Songs,” so you can quickly add the same arrangement you created before.
Get Proclaim free for 30 days, and say goodbye to typos! No credit card required.
Today’s guest post is by Susan Fontaine Godwin, founder and president of Christian Copyright Solutions—a leading authority on church-music copyrights. She is frequently featured in Christian magazines, where she equips teams and churches to honor copyright law and use the best materials available for their worship.
When I visit churches and teach about copyright issues, pastors and leaders often say they feel overwhelmed and confused. Without a clear strategy, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Pastors and leaders need to remember that copyright compliance doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. However, certain copyright infringements represent higher risks and can result in higher fines and fees, so it is important to address some critical issues right away. Here are four keys to help your church minimize risks and PLAN for compliance:
PREPARE a list of all the areas and types of activities in your church that use copyrighted material.
LEARN the basics of copyright law, as well as the blanket licenses that may provide coverage for your activities.
ALLOW enough time to research and obtain permissions prior to copyright use.
NEVER use copyrighted material without permission or exemption.
1. Prepare to obey the law from the ground up
With your church staff and volunteers, identify where and how copyrighted works are being used in the course of your church’s activities and services.
A good place to start is reviewing your website and focusing on any copyrighted materials on the site. Websites may contain several types of copyrights, including music, sound recordings, visual images, literary works, and audiovisuals. It’s a good idea to assign a gatekeeper to make sure no uncleared copyrighted materials are posted on your site. Websites make churches more visible—and more vulnerable.
2. Learn how US Copyright Law impacts churches
To get started, download this free fact sheet on Copyrights 101 from Christian Copyright Solutions (CCS). You may also want to engage a copyright professional or an attorney to advise your church on the important areas that impact your activities.
One of the best ways to become copyright compliant is to learn about all the available church blanket licenses, which provide churches with the simplest and most cost-efficient method to get copyright coverage. These licenses allow different uses and cover different works, so it’s important to understand what each license covers and what it does not cover. To make sure you’re in the clear, you can download CCS’ free fact sheet on blanket licenses.
3. Allow time to obtain permission and licenses
Not all copyrights and uses are covered by a blanket license. Acquiring specific permissions can take as long as four to eight weeks. It helps to incorporate copyright clearances into the creative process when you begin planning for special events. It’s also a good idea to include royalty or license fees in your creative budget.
Many churches appoint a copyright gatekeeper as the point person to make sure all copyrighted material has been cleared or is covered by a license. This works really well if senior leaders authorize the gatekeeper to make decisions and enforce policies.
4. Never use copyrighted material without permission
Whenever your church uses someone else’s materials, you have to be certain that you either have permission, or the use is covered by an exemption in the US Copyright Law; e.g., the Religious Service Exemption. It’s important for a church to include copyright compliance in its policies and procedures document for staff members. There are certain copyright uses that leave a church at higher risk. For example, churches have been sued for synchronizing a song and sound recording to their own original video or audiovisual material. Anything posted to your church’s website is highly visible, and there are companies that crawl websites looking for their copyrighted works.
It’s important to have a clear copyright compliance policy in place and to communicate that policy to all church employees and volunteers—because if an employee illegally uses copyrighted material, the church can also be held liable. Some churches build this policy into their employee contracts. In many cases, it’s advisable for a church to consult with an IP attorney for guidance in establishing their policies and procedures.
Often as I’m wrapping up an on-site church consultation, the church leaders’ first question is, “How are we doing?” They often ask what kind of grade I would give them. I guess it’s just human nature to want to know how we measure up or score on a particular subject. That’s why CCS created a free online interactive tool called The Copyright Compliance Report Card.
We thought it would be fun to create a game you can play on your own without fear of judgment or recrimination. The copyright compliance report card is for entertainment purposes only, but along the way you’ll find some very useful information and practical ideas on how to become more compliant. It will take about five to ten minutes for you to answer 12 questions. When you’re done, you’ll get a grade and a summary report on specific categories to give you an idea of where you can find licensing solutions or consider making policy changes.
Play the game and see how you score. All the information is anonymous and no data is stored in the CCS system. And no, you will not get a call from the copyright police! However, if you have questions, you can live chat with one of our copyright solvers or call 1-555-5SOLVER. We are more than happy to help you learn how to obey the law, keep a clear conscience, and legally use the materials your church needs (Romans 13:5).
* * *
Proclaim automatically connects your presentations to your CCLI SongSelect account, so you can quickly assemble your presentations with songs that honor God and the artists that wrote them. Save time without ever violating copyright law, and put together beautiful services easier than ever. Download Proclaim today to try it free for 30 days. You’ll also get 30 days free of Pro Media—loaded with captivating motion backgrounds, welcome videos, countdowns, and more.