Policies and Guidelines

Information on plagiarism, permission forms, social media guidelines, computer/Internet guidelines and copyright compliance can be found here. Copyright information includes music, video and streaming).


As we all know, taking the work or the ideas of someone else and passing it off as one’s own is strictly prohibited. Artists involved in music composition are paid through the aforementioned CCLI license. Use of other written material should be acknowledged. United Methodist Communications offers six ways for churches to avoid online plagiarism.


Permission forms

While most adults are aware when photographers and videographers are present, children and the vulnerable population might not. Photography and video recording are among the best means of documentation of an event and promotions of future events, but it cannot be accomplished if permission is not granted.

This photo release form should be a part of registration for Sunday school, Bible school or daycare, or activities when children might be photographed or recorded by audio or video.


Social media guidelines

The advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and other social media sites can become a wonderful ministry tool. However, in the wrong hands they could cause trouble when in contact with predators.

While decisions should be made by individual churches about their own guidelines, churches should also consider the interactions between adult leaders and youth on their private pages.

Please consider these guidelines when using social media in ministry.


Computer and Internet guidelines

Local church computer and internet usage guidelines — Just like families, businesses or public places such as libraries, the use of computers and the internet have guidelines in the churches of the Great Plains Conference. These help protect our security and integrity as followers of Christ. View more information on the Safe Gatherings page.


Copyright Compliance

Copyright compliance is a huge area of responsibility and concern for most church music leaders and others who use copyrighted materials. Often, obtaining the proper licenses for compliance can be a confusing, difficult and time-consuming process.

There are several options for obtaining music copyright and staying in compliance. Licensing is based on your church membership, and options are based on how you plan to use the music.

Licensing also is needed for showing videos as well as for broadcasting your worship services online, including via Facebook Live.

For broadcasting worship services on cable, your cable provider is responsible for obtaining the necessary copyright permissions to broadcast your service.

If you need any additional information, visit website for the U.S. Copyright Office.


Music Licensing for Worship

Christian Copyright Solutions (CCS)

Christian Copyright Solutions was launched in 2001 out of a desire to provide online solutions through its web based CopyrightSolver application to simplify the copyright clearance process. Since that time, CCS has helped more than 2,000 congregations become copyright compliant, ranging from small local churches to some of the largest churches in the country.

CCS’ founder, Susan Fontaine Godwin, is an educator and long-time member of the Christian arts community with experience in the Christian media industry, church copyright administration and copyright management.

CCS offers a number of licenses to cover music performance, live streaming and archiving worship on the Internet, and create CDs and DVDs of performances, photocopies, downloads and websites.

This report card from CCS helps you discover if your church is compliant.

For more information, CCS website has a Great Plains Conference page. To save 10 percent on any CCS license, use promo code CKKS.

CCS also sends out a monthly newsletter that offers information, tips and resources.

Church Copyright License (CCLI)

The Church Copyright License service was born in the music department of a large church — Bible Temple in Portland, Oregon. It began in 1984 when Bible Temple's pastor first became aware of copyright law and a pending $3.1 million lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicago. He asked his music minister, Howard Rachinski, to see what could be done about the copyright crisis.

In 1985, Howard began to develop a "permission of use" concept, whereby churches could obtain blanket permission for specific copying activities, which he labeled "non-commercial." It was called Starpraise Ministries and was to be CCLI's predecessor.

CCLI also offers a variety of licensing options to cover activities such as photocopying music for rehearsals, streaming or archiving worship on the Internet, showing videos in worship, and podcasting.

In general, music in the United Methodist Hymnal, the Faith We Sing supplement and most of the songs in the Worship & Song hymnal are covered with a CCLI license.

Visit the CCLI website for more information about the church music copyright license.


Video Licensing for Churches

CVLI Church Video License

Through an agreement with several producers, the CVLI Church Video License provides legal coverage for churches and for other ministry organizations to show home versions of motion pictures. (Each organization needs to be specifically covered.) Coverage includes playing just a few seconds of a video all the way up to showing a full-length feature.

The Church Video License is one of the most cost-effective and convenient ways for churches and other ministry organizations to protect themselves from the possibility of being fined for illegal use of movies. Unlike music, which is determined on a song-by-song basis, movies are covered based on studio participation. So it is important to know which studio produced the movie you intend to use.

What you can do with this license:

  • Pastors can use portions of movies to illustrate sermon points.
  • Sunday schools and youth groups can view the latest videos.
  • Educational classes can use Hollywood-style movies for teaching and training.
  • Other ministry organizations (schools, childcare, conferences, camps) can also be licensed to include videos in their programs.

What you can't do: This license does not cover materials that have been copied from another source or recorded from television. It also does not cover charging an admission fee for video showings or where specific titles have been advertised or publicized.

Visit the CVLI website for more information on the church video license.

About YouTube

Just because a video clip is posted on YouTube doesn't mean it's copyright-legal. While you can find a clip from just about any movie or TV show on YouTube, almost none of those clips are legal. If you put those videos on your website, you are guilty of copyright infringement.

Learn more on the Christian Copyright Solutions website


Web Streaming Licensing

WorshipCAST License

The WorshipCast license from Christian Copyright Solutions is for performances only and does not cover duplication of copyrighted materials. Additional licenses may be required in accordance with applicable law.

What you can do with this license:

  • Your singers and musicians performances of more than 16 million non-dramatical musical works from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC catalogs.
  • Non-downloadable song playlists.
  • Livestreaming of worship services and events.
  • Archived audio or audiovisual files.
  • Online song log reporting.
  • Education on current copyright and Internet issues.
  • CCS compiles and submits payments and reports to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
  • Access to 24/7 online CopyrightSolverTM song database.

What you can’t do:

  • Third-party sound recordings or accompaniment tracks (any audio recording you don't own, unless you have permission from the sound recording owner).
  • Download MP3 or digital audio song files (or provide for download).
  • Use any copyrights other than songs on your website (such as third-party videos, visual images or literary works).
  • Performance of dramatic musical works.

Learn more or purchase this license.

CCLI Streaming and Podcast License

CCLI offers a streaming and podcast license that allows you to stream or podcast your live-recorded worship service music on your church’s website or other streaming services. With this you can include your music along with the pastor’s message as you webcast your church service. More than 3,000 publishers and more than 200,000 songs are covered, representing the vast majority of Christian songs sung in worship services.

The Church Streaming and Podcast license requires no reporting.

The Church Streaming and Podcast License does not cover the streaming of secular songs. If your church wants to webcast performances of secular songs, you may want to a consider a webcasting license from the performance rights societies (ASCAP, BMI, SEASAC) or other service companies. Please contact CCLI at 1-800-234-2446 for assistance.

Visit the CCLI website to learn more or purchase this license.