Brooksville, FL asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Florida

Q: Can a church sing songs while on a LIVE (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok...)? Almost all the song by a recording artist

The 17 U.S. Code 110 does not state that a disclaimer has to be posted.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: While churches may stream live services on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, it's essential to be mindful of copyright laws when using recorded songs during these broadcasts. The fact that the songs are performed live in a church setting does not exempt them from copyright regulations. Under U.S. copyright law, the performance of copyrighted songs without proper authorization could constitute infringement, even if the songs are performed as part of a religious service.

The absence of a disclaimer requirement in the U.S. Code does not negate the need for proper licensing or permission to use copyrighted material. Churches can obtain licenses from performing rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC to legally perform copyrighted music in their services, including live streams. These licenses typically cover a wide range of songs and ensure that songwriters and copyright holders receive fair compensation for the use of their work.

To avoid potential legal issues, it's advisable for churches to obtain the necessary licenses or permissions before live streaming services that include copyrighted music. This proactive approach helps ensure compliance with copyright laws and supports the rights of songwriters and creators. Additionally, churches can explore alternatives such as using original music or seeking permission directly from copyright holders for specific songs they wish to use in their services.

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