Holidays are some of the best opportunities churches have for outreach. Although unchurched friends, neighbors and relatives may not be likely to attend services, they are often open to attending these more “entertaining” forms of outreach.
Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Parade, Easter Breakfast/Brunch
Whether music is played during an Easter egg hunt, featured on a float in an Easter parade or performed as background music for Easter Sunday Brunch, most of these activities will incorporate live music in one way or another. Each use of copyrighted music in these settings will require a performance license. Even if you use music played live from your hymnal (unless a song is in the public domain) you must secure performance licensing for each song use outside a religious service.
When we think of a “performance” we often think of the presentation of a soloist, ensemble or choir. However, the performance licensing requirement is not limited to these groups. When congregations and smaller informal groups play or perform copyrighted music outside of a worship setting, they also require performance licensing. So, whether the music you’re presenting for your Easter event is played by a professional string quartet or sung by a congregation full of amateur musicians, performance licensing is required.
There are two ways to take care of your performance licensing. You can either contact the copyright holder directly or you can get CopyrightSolver’s PERFORMmusic License
, a blanket license which covers an entire year’s performances of over 16 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
Also, be sure to purchase each individual piece of printed music you will need, as it is unlawful to purchase a minimal amount and make photocopies. If, for convenience sake, you’d prefer to make your own copies, you will need to obtain a print license from the song's copyright holder, or you can work with CopyrightSolver’s PERMISSIONSplus Service
and let our Copyright Solvers help you obtain print licenses you need.
Passion Play, Easter Musical, Easter Concert
To obtain the rights to perform a play or musical, you must secure the “grand rights” from the copyright owner. “Grand rights” relate to the performance of musical comedies (Broadway and off-Broadway), operas, operettas, ballets, as well as renditions of independent musical compositions in a dramatic setting where there is narration, a plot and/or costumes and scenery. You may either contact the copyright holder directly or contact CopyrightSolver’s PERMISSIONSplus Service
so for help in obtaining the grand rights your event will require.
To be copyright compliant regarding print licensing, you’ll want to be sure you purchase individual scripts and musical scores for each participant, or obtain the rights to print your own copies, as mentioned above.
Although copyright law allows churches to freely perform copyrighted material within the context of a worship or religious service, special concerts will require performance licensing. Performance licensing can be obtained by contacting the copyright holder directly or by purchasing CopyrightSolver’s PERFORMmusic License
Each event for which you charge an admission price requires that royalties be paid to copyright owners based on ticket sales revenue. There is no blanket license that covers charging admission to events where copyrighted music will be performed. However, CopyrightSolver has recently added Ticketed Events Coverage as an add-on to the PERFORMmusic License
. You simply send in one very short form for your event and CopyrightSolver will do the rest. Royalty rates are as low as 2% of ticket sales.
For All Easter Events
If you will be streaming any portion of these events on your ministry website, you must purchase a streaming license. Two options are the CopyrightSolver WorshipCast License
, which allows you to stream over 16 million ASCAP, BMI or SESAC songs, and the CCLI Church Streaming and Podcast License
, which allows you to stream or podcast 200,000 CCLI-registered Christian songs.
Creating DVDs and CDs of your special events is a wonderful way to preserve memories, however, there are special copyright concerns involved in doing so. Anytime you include a recording of a musical work as part of the soundtrack of an audio/visual work, a synchronization license is required. So, to legally create DVDs, you must obtain a synchronization license. To create a CD, you must obtain a mechanical license for each copyrighted song included on the CD. Synchronization and mechanical licensing are both easy to obtain through CopyrightSolver’s PERMISSIONSplus Service
. Whether you are selling your DVDs and CDs or giving them away does not affect your legal obligation to obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any questions about any of the copyright compliance requirements for your Easter celebrations, please call the CopyrightSolver hotline number (877-947-9687) to discuss your specific licensing needs.
This information is only intended to be an overview. This document provides information and not legal advice. For more information and resources, including fact sheets, videos and idea kits, visit our Detroit Conference page at www.copyrightsolver.com/detroitumc