With more and more parishes and Diocesan institutions printing an “Order of Worship” for
congregational use, it seems timely to remind the reader of the Copyright Act of 1976. The copyright owner is the only person who has the privilege of reproducing their copyrighted material free of charge. If any other party wants to reproduce copyrighted material in some manner, permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. Obviously, it is illegal, as well as unethical, to reproduce copyrighted choral octavos, solo works & hymn accompaniments. This article deals specifically with the issue of reproducing congregational music.
The rules are simple and straightforward. Congregational music may be reprinted by contacting a
specific publisher with the request for a “one-time permission,” or by purchasing a “Restricted Copy
License.” Once permission for a “one-time printing” has been secured, or the appropriate “Restricted Copy License” has been purchased from a particular publisher, the parish has the right to reproduce only the melody-line and/or words to congregational music in a worship aid for use in a religious service. No choir parts, cantor verses, harmony, chord designations, or accompaniment parts may be reproduced.
A copyright notice © must appear on the page of the item being copied, and must include the word
Copyright, the year as found in the copyright notice of the published edition, the name & city of the
copyright holder, followed by “Used with permission, license #.” The sentence “All rights reserved.” is to conclude every notice.
Annual “Restricted Copy Licenses” may be purchased from an individual publishing company by
an individual parish. There is no such vehicle as a Diocesan copyright license for parish use. Every parish is responsible for the handling of copyrighted material that they elect to reprint. Administrative Offices within the Diocese of Cleveland may use the “Diocesan Administrative Offices Copy Licenses” maintained by the Office for Worship: 216-696-6525 (ext 3640).
Currently, the majority of the music used in parishes throughout the Diocese of Cleveland is
copyrighted by four publishing companies. Each of these companies is ready and willing to
address specific copyright needs. Annual “Restricted Copy Licenses” may be purchased from each of these publishing companies via the links below.
Help is available on the Diocesan level in all matters of music copyright. Contact: Greg Heislman,
Office for Worship / 216-696-6525 (ext 3640).