CCLI, Christian Copyright Solutions (CCS), and OneLicense are all organizations which provide licenses to churches and Christian ministries. However, rather than being in competition, each company represents different rights, and you may need a combination of their licenses to cover the use of copyright materials in all areas of your ministry.
Both CCLI and OneLicense provide licenses for the reproduction of copyrighted songs in services and activities, but each organization largely represents the rights of a distinct list of publishers. While there may be a small overlap, generally OneLicense represents the catalogs of liturgical music publishers, while CCLI represents a much larger, more ecumenical list.
While CCLI and OneLicense cover reproduction rights, when music is played on church premises outside of your worship services, performance licensing is usually required. CCS cover these rights, providing blanket coverage for the use of more than 28 million Christian and secular songs.
Which song reproduction license do I need?
The license(s) you need depends on the songs you are reproducing in your church services. If your congregation sings a broad range of modern songs and traditional hymns, it’s likely you’ll need licensing from CCLI. If you only use liturgical music, you may only need licensing from OneLicense. However, if your church uses both contemporary worship songs & hymns as well as liturgical music, you may well require licenses from both organizations.
Both CCLI and OneLicense offer annual and one-off event licenses based on your average attendance. So if you generally only use the repertoire of one organization, but might occasionally use songs from the other, an event license may give you the additional short-term permissions you need.
Aren’t we covered by the Religious Service Exemption?
The Religious Service Exemption under U.S. Copyright Law only applies music performances during worship services. It does not cover the reproduction of songs (such as the projection or printing out of lyrics) or music played before or after your services, or during other activities. So when music is played on your facilities or in activities beyond your worship services, it’s likely you’ll need the PERFORMmusic License from CCS.
What about streaming ours services?
Both CCLI and OneLicense offer licenses that permit songs from their respective repertoires to be played during services which are streamed, or uploaded to the internet. The license(s) you need will depend on the songs that will be included in your online services as well as whether those songs are performed live or played from song recordings (such as multitracks, artist tracks, and backing tracks). Always check which publishers and catalogs are authorized under these licenses to ensure they will meet your needs.
CCS also offers a streaming license called WORSHIPcast. This license permits you to stream live performances of the 28 million songs they authorize.
While the streaming licenses provided by CCS and OneLicense only cover live performances, CCLI offers the Streaming Plus License which allows churches to include authorized song recordings during their online worship.
How do I find out more?