Researching Copyright for Live Streaming

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If you read a poem, read an excerpt from a book, sing a hymn, have the choir perform, or play a CD in your worship space, for your worshiping congregation, you are exempt from the normal prohibitions in the copyright laws against public performances. But when you record or stream a service the rules change drastically.

  • For UUA Resources, learn how to tell what you can use in virtual worship, and what will need additional permission.
  • We have a curated list of all of the Hymns and Readings that may be used in broadcast UU worship without special permission
  • The Association for UU Music Ministries has a crowd-sourced list of works that have temporary permissions granted by composers, etc. for live streaming during the COVID-19 social distancing protocol.
  • Rev. Mathew Johnson and the UU Church of Rockford, IL have compiled a spreadsheet with copyright information they have researched for both the Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey UUA hymnals.
  • See Copyright Issues Related to Worship for more information.
  • One option is to purchase a WorshipCast license from Christian Copyright Solution. A yearly fee covers singing and performing in church, and there is an additional cost for live streaming. This covers most music publishers, including ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, although it doesn't cover everything. Be sure to check whether it covers the music you plan to use in your service.
  • This is also an opportunity to encourage your members to write original pieces for worship.

Additional Resources from outside the UUA: