Every piece of original work, whether written, composed or filmed, is protected by copyright during the creator’s lifetime and generally for 70 years after the end of the year in which they died.
Copyright is an intellectual property protection which affects the use of liturgy, music, images and other resources or text in worship, online and in print.
The law on copyright has significant implications for local churches, a number of which have been pursued by copyright holders for alleged copyright infringement with the potential for significant fines and legal costs.
To stay within the law, all churches need copyright approval to:
- Photocopy hymns
- Show hymns on an overhead projector
- Photocopy text from books
- Record music, such as a church concert
- Publish others’ work in a church magazine
- Use others’ images or text on a church website