Copyright and licences

Most churches need a copyright licence. It is most likely that will be a CCL (Church Copyright Licence). The table below gives you more information.  

Click on the name of a licence for full details of what that licence covers. When you know which licences you need, you can view the licence fees and apply online directly with the relevant company.


  CCL MRL PRS for Music CLA CVL PPL Song Select Basic Song Select Advanced Melody
Reproduce the words of hymns and worship songs (e.g. projection)              
Photocopy hymns and songs from authorised publications            
Perform live music outside times of worship for social activities              
Play music from a sound recording outside times of worship (e.g. social activities, youth groups etc.)            
Make audio / video recordings of church services for non-commercial use              
Play music from a sound recording during times of worship, weddings & funerals No licence required
Show films or film scenes outside times of worship            
Show film scenes during times of worship only              
Photocopy from magazines or non-music books              
Download Song Lyrics            
Download song lyrics, chord sheets & lead sheets            


For information on licences for live streamed services please visit the Church of England website where the page link below includes a section on licences:

Guide: Getting started with Live Streaming | The Church of England | Weblink

Alcohol licensing for churches

If your church is holding a fundraising event and you wish to sell alcohol please adhere to the guidelines stated here.

Images licensing

Please ensure that you have permission to use images anywhere online – your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – as well as in print.

If you are using images on your website that have been taken from other websites or from websites searches please check that you have the right to use photographs. There is a common misperception that images online are in the public domain and can be reused. On the contrary, you should presume that all online content is copyright and you do not have permission to use it yourself without consent from the copyright holder.  

Photographic libraries are trawling through websites and requesting usage payments for photographs with license fees.  This has happened nationally in some parishes and in one of our schools.  Even though you may not have done this on purpose and you immediate withdraw the image you are likely to still have to pay usage fees for considerable amount of money. 

To source royalty free images please use websites such as:,,, who offer free images to download.  Although do check as you may need to credit the image and there may be limitations on use, but these sites limit your risk. 

Page last updated: Tuesday 27th July 2021 10:22 AM
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