During the first few months of worldwide lockdowns in 2020, churches and other institutions had to scramble together methods of creating an online presence to match the in-person experience. Quite the undertaking; how exactly does a 500- member church suddenly create their service and broadcast it digitally? In meeting that challenge, many churches subscribed to digital music and video libraries offering content. Some simply chose to copy content from YouTube or Instagram.
This can be real trouble for the Church.
While there is real argument that houses of worship are exempt from copyright law (https://www.geniemusic.com/?w=3480), there are NO established cases defending churches using copy written digital content without permission (https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/19/18273063/peloton-music-lawsuit-licensing-video-fitness-classes-nmpa)ion. In fact, there are cases where larger institutions have been taken to court for using music from libraries without properly gaining permission. Most notably, Ford was hit
(https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2020/04/21/ford-copyright-infringement-lawsuit) with a $8.1MM lawsuit from a small music library, and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) sought over $150MM in damages from Peloton on behalf of several music groups (https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/19/18273063/peloton-music-lawsuit-licensing-video-fitness-classes-nmpa).
What is the likelihood of your church getting targeted for a multi-million dollar suit? That remains to be seen. But the sudden move to a full-scale online presentation for practically every house of worship vastly increases the odds.
Don't be the first church to be sued.
Here at SONICA (www.SonicaSounds.com) we offer a royalty-free, digital library, beautifully created and curated by folks who love God’s House. Subscribe for free today to enjoy a diverse library of music selected to match the flow of church services.