What You Need to Know about Copyright

Apr 6, 2021 9:00:00 AM / by Augsburg Fortress

You probably know that churches have to obtain permission to copy, print, project, livestream, or podcast copyrighted content. What you may not have thought about over the course of the past year is that there are different copyright licenses for podcasting or livestreaming, as compared to the licenses for printing and projecting. Doing church at a distance requires different permissions than doing church in person, at least if you’re using copyrighted material.

To find out if something is under copyright, check the page where the content is, or the front or back of the book or source. Remember that, for a hymn, there may be separate rights holders for the words, tune, arrangement, and translation, if applicable. You need to get permission for each element you’re planning on using.

There are two ways to get permission to use copyrighted material: you can subscribe to a copyright license that covers the material, or you can obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. Augsburg Fortress offers two different licenses that cover our liturgies. One covers only liturgical texts and liturgical music in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship family, which includes All Creation Sings. The second, the Augsburg Fortress Liturgies License, covers all liturgical texts and liturgical music published or administered by Augsburg Fortress. This license is included in a sundaysandseasons.com subscription. You need the applicable license to reproduce, project, livestream, or podcast our liturgies.

Because many other rights holders are represented in our hymnals and worship resources, we encourage churches to use third-party licenses with broader coverage. Augsburg Fortress hymns are covered under One License. To reprint, project, livestream, or podcast music not covered by either of our liturgies licenses, your best option is licensing from One License, which offers a reprint license and several podcast/streaming license options. We do offer a reprint license for hymns, but it does not cover podcasting, streaming, or hymns from other rights holders.

All of these licenses are for local, one-time, not-for-profit use in a worship context, and they’re site-specific, meaning they’re for use at your church only. Some rights holders for pieces published in Augsburg Fortress resources don’t participate in any of the licenses listed here, and you would need to contact the rights holders directly for permission to use their content.

You can find more information on this page. Specific questions regarding reproducing material under copyright to, or administered by, Augsburg Fortress can be sent via email to copyright@1517.media. Please include a phone number in your email. Our copyright phone number is 612-330-3530.

Augsburg Fortress

Written by Augsburg Fortress

Augsburg Fortress develops engaging resources for Lutheran congregations In our ministry as the publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we create substantive and innovative materials to support the ministries of faith communities in communicating the good news of God's liberating grace. To meet the evolving needs of Lutheran communities, we continually invest in the development of new ministry resources, seeking ongoing input from theologians, educators, church leaders, and church members.

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