Copyright Policy for Prince of Peace Catholic Community
In order to ensure that our many ministries operate responsibly and in accordance with the law, we are instituting a new policy concerning the use of copyrighted materials. There is considerable confusion regarding copyrights, and with good reason – it’s quite complicated. However, it all boils down to a few simple points that are easy to remember and follow.
The main thing to remember is to ask permission. Anytime you are considering using materials you did not create yourself, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder before using the work. Here are the answers to some common questions about copyrights:
Q: What is a copyright?
A: A copyright is a legal device which protects the creative work of a person by allowing the creator to maintain exclusive control over the rights and use of his or her work. That work could be a novel, a recording, a piece of music, a video, a computer program, artwork or anything else that is the unique creation of that person’s imagination.
Q: What does a copyright do?
A: It allows the creator to control how, when, where, and by whom his or her work is used. Having a work copyrighted also enables the creator to receive payment for the use of their work in the form of royalties, the amounts of which are set by law.
Q: So, I have to ask permission to use someone’s work if it is copyrighted?
A: Yes, you do. When you use copyrighted materials without asking permission, you are violating the creator’s rights. Royalties are the primary source of income for many individuals who create for a living. By not purchasing published materials or paying for reproduction rights you are, in fact, stealing from the person or persons who created them.
Q: What is the penalty for violating copyright law?
A: Penalties can range from $500 to $100,000 in fines per violation. Willful infringement for private financial gain, or for commercial advantage, can result in fines as high as $250,000 and jail terms of up to five years.
Q: What can I do to make sure I stay within the law?
A: First, contact the staff member in charge of your ministry and find out whether the work you want to use is covered by a group license (more about this later). If the work is covered, you may go ahead and use it; no other action is necessary. If the work is not covered, then you will need to contact the copyright holder to ask permission to use the work. More often than not, permission is granted. Keep in mind that there is usually a royalty payment associated with using copyrighted materials.
Q: That sounds complicated and expensive. Is it really necessary?
A: Yes! Every time a group uses copyrighted material, whether a song, a book, or a video, care must be taken to ensure no infringement takes place. It’s the law. However, it is not as difficult as it sounds. Remember the group licenses mentioned earlier? These licenses serve as clearinghouses for dozens of publishers giving member organizations access to thousands of works. Fortunately, Prince of Peace holds licenses that provide access to a wide selection of works through our membership.
Q: So, exactly how does this license thing work?
A: It depends on the type of license. For the reprinting of music and lyrics in worship situations only, there are three licenses available: CCLI, OneLicense.net, and Licensing.com. These licenses allow us to reprint congregational refrains and texts solely for use during a worship service, like a Mass or prayer liturgy. These licenses do not allow us to reprint texts or music for lectures, workshops, presentations, or for full choral parts that would enable us to perform the work without having purchased enough legal copies for each musician to have his own.
Q: What about videos…?
A: The Church also has a license which permits the showing of videos for entertainment purposes and for teaching purposes in an educational setting. For example, it is permissible for a catechist to show a video in part or whole to highlight a teaching point in the classroom, provided the work is covered under our license. This particular license only covers videos that were originally released in theaters and does not cover television shows.
Q: …and downloading music?
A: Music is vital in the life of the Church, from setting the scene for prayer to enlivening a gathering. Since the courts have not yet decided on the legality of using and sharing music downloaded from the web, we do not permit this practice in our ministries at this time. This does not mean that commercially-produced recordings may not be shared and used; only those recordings which have been downloaded are not permitted.
Q: What about materials recommended in my curriculum?
A: If a curriculum recommends the use of a video or book or includes worksheets, the license for use of those is often included. It is your responsibility to make sure that the proper permission is in place before using the work.
Q: So, who do I ask if I need help or more information?
A: Ask the staff member responsible for your ministry. For a more complete explanation, copies of our parish policy on copyrights are available in the Pastoral Office.
Copyright infringement is a serious issue which we must guard against every day in the life of the Church. Our parish and the Diocese of Dallas are working to create policy that both protects and advances the legal use of copyrighted materials. The Catholic Church encourages and respects the God-given creativity of all individuals by observing and obeying copyright laws. These laws exist to protect the livelihood of individuals who enrich all our lives with their creative works. It is our duty to make every effort to ensure that we all benefit from the fruits of their creativity responsibly as we minister in Jesus’ name. Thank you for your cooperation and remember….
ASK BEFORE YOU MAKE A COPY OF
COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IN ANY FORM!