Hello ARSC Group:
I have been a faithful member of ARSC for quite a few years now.
Although this questions is not exactly focused on the preservation of
recorded sound content, I hoping that someone on this list can provide
some advice/input for a more personal inquiry, as I know there are quite
a few people on this list-serve who have some copyright
I am a member of a smaller Roman Catholic church in Upstate New York.
About a year ago, I began web streaming a live camera broadcasting 24/7
on YouTube for our church. For an entire year, there were no issues.
Before we lost our YouTube account, we had over 900 unique instances
each month where someone logged in to watch a regular church service, a
funeral or a wedding. Then suddenly two months ago, YouTube sent me a
notification that "due to multiple violations, your YouTube account was
closed". There was no specific information as to why. I filed an appeal
with no reply and we lost the account.
My best guess is that sometimes our parish priest will play store-bought
religious CD's for background music before mass, during confessions to
hide any extraneous conversions, etc. and the music went through the
sound system and through our streaming hardware which was then broadcast
through the YouTube live stream and YouTube picked up on the copyrighted
music and punted us for copyright violations.
After doing a mass amount of research to find a qualified paid streaming
service provider, I found more and more references pointing to the fact
that if you broadcast your church services outside the four walls of
your church, such as streaming your services, you need to purchase a
rights license to be able to use the standard Roman Catholic church
hymns in your streaming content. But these references conflict with
other references that say we don't have to pay for a rights license.
Some license companies ask that you report weekly a list of all the
hymns sung in the services for the entire week. Some license companies
state that you just pay a fixed fee to cover the church services for the
entire year with no reporting. The streaming providers all say the same
thing - no one is going to go through the time and trouble of suing a
small catholic church for streaming hymns sung during a regular worship
service - there's no money in it. There is no definitive answer for
rights licensing protocol that I can find anywhere. It seems as the
licensing companies are there to cash in on churches that are willing to
pay to protect themselves. Our Diocese has not been able to provide any
definitive answer either. There are not many churches in our diocese
that do what we do. Apparently, streaming the Roman Catholic mass is not
something many churches do in our area.
So my question is this.... Does anyone on this list have some
experience or practical experience in this area? If we only stick to
streaming broadcast of hymns sung during live Roman Catholic Church
services (and we do not play any other pre-recorded music before during
or after services) are we within our rights to broadcast the services
through web streaming without having to pay for additional copyright
protection? If not and we should purchase a rights license, does anyone
have recommendations for a rights license service provider where the
service is reputable, the costs are reasonable and the reporting isn't
to a point that it requires a lot of weekly work?
Thanks in advance for any input.
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