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copyright licensing - sound recordings at church

By Kevin Russell | 19 March 2012


Churches should note, if they have not already done so, that the law on copyright licensing changed with effect from 1 January 2012. Any church that plays sound recordings, or has groups (for example a youth group, or coffee morning) that use their premises during the week and who play sound recordings, must, by law, purchase a Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) Church Licence. This follows a 12 month period of grace from the new laws introduced for others from 2011.

If the only recorded music played by the church is during an act of divine worship, the church is  exempt from the new rules.

The cost of the licence is determined by the average aggregated number of people in the congregation at your main service, and varies from £21.68 through to £180.64 for churches with over 500 but less than 1,000 people. Larger churches will pay more.

Note: churches now need both a Performing Rights Society (PRS) for Music Church Licence and a new PPL Church Licence in order to play sound recordings. Both Licenses can be obtained from Churches Copyright Licensing International  (CCLI).

More information can be found here

Posted by Kevin Russell

Our Legal Eagle guru and Stewardship's Technical Director, Kevin constantly has his finger on the pulse of all things tax and charity law-related. His briefing papers for charities, churches and individuals are an invaluable resource on everything from VAT to Gift Aid. 


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