Church Web Streaming Issues

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  • I am from a church that is searching through the murky waters of digital copyright law. We have a service that consists of our band playing other artists' songs and showing lyrics over top of that. We are not sure what licenses (if any) are required to stream our service with music AND lyrics. ASCAP and BMI both have digital licenses but we're not convinced this allows us to show lyrics. If any of you out there could provide some input so we can be 100% legal in our venture, we would appreciate it.
  • Although I am not absolutely certain, I believe that there is only one way to "be 100% legal": get permission from the copyright holders of all the music and lyrics. If ASCAP and BMI are the copyright holders of everything, ask them if your situation is covered by the digital licenses. If they agree, then you are 100% legal. If they disagree, they may offer you another license that would make you 100% legal.

    Your use may be legal even if the copyright holders do not give you permission. If this involves fair use, then you will not be 100% certain because that's the way the law is.

    There also might be other areas of the law that make your use legal even without permission.

    If you want me to discuss this further, let me know.

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