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Reproducing Song Words

Do we need a licence with CCLI to make an enlarged copy of song words for those with a visual impairment?

If there is no published version available then an enlargement can be made under the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002. Further details can be viewed at

Our church has a CCL. Would I be allowed to adapt the words of a hymn?

The CCL licence does not allow you to change the words of a hymn, only to reproduce the lyrics. If you wish to make any changes to a copyrighted work we would advise you contact the copyright owner directly.

If I write new words to an existing, copyright protected tune, do I need permission from the tune's copyright holder?

We would advise contacting the copyright owner if you would like to use different words with their tune.

Does our CCL licence cover order of service sheets for weddings or funerals in the church?

Yes your Church Copyright Licence (CCL) would cover the reproduction of song words in an order of service sheet for weddings and funerals.

In our church we would like to make our own songbook for use in our congregation, can we do this under our CCL? How do we report these?

The Church Copyright Licence (CCL) permits you to print authorised song/hymn words in a ‘home-made’ songbook for use by your congregation. When you first create the book, you should report each song contained within it once under PRINT. You don’t need to report the use of these printed books again, regardless of how long you keep them. If you add additional songs, these should then be reported once under PRINT. However, if you subsequently print additional copies of your book, you should report again each song once under PRINT.

Can I reproduce songs if the owner is unknown?

CCLI cannot give permission to reproduce any material of which the copyright owner cannot be traced. If you reproduce these songs it is at your own discretion, and you must be prepared to pay royalties if the owner becomes known at a later date.

Can I photocopy the words of songs under my CCL?

You are not permitted to photocopy from a publication if you do not have the additional Music Reproduction Licence (MRL). However you are permitted to photocopy your own hand-written or typed versions.

Where can I find the latest list of Song Owners and/or Publishers covered by the licence(s)?

You can obtain a copy of the latest lists on our website. Please go to the Resources tab and then the Publishers/Producers tab.

How can I tell if a song is covered by my licence?

For the Church Copyright Licence please check the Authorised Catalogue List. If the copyright owner of the song is listed, then you are free to reproduce the words of this song. For the Music Reproduction Licence, check that the songbook from which you want to photocopy is on the MRL Authorised Publication List. If it is, then check that the copyright owner(s) of the song words and the copyright owner(s) of the music are listed in the MRL Authorised Catalogue list. If the songbook is authorised and the copyright owner(s) of the words and music of the song are authorised, then you are permitted to photocopy the song.

What acknowledgments should I give when displaying song words?

Under the words of each song reproduced you are required to include the following: "[author], © [year, owner], [your licence number]" eg. Fred Smiley, © 2007 Happy Music Ltd., CCL No, 123456

When does a song become public domain (PD)?

Copyright lasts for 70 years from the death of the author and/or composer on 31st December of that year. In cases where the author and composer are different, and only one of the them has been dead for more than 70 years, then permission is still needed to reproduce the other part of the song. NB: If new words are used for a PD tune, permission is needed to reproduce the words, but not the tune.

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