It’s becoming more common. Churches host special event movie nights. Pastors use movies to enhance sermon points. Sunday School teachers and childcare workers often use DVDs to educate and entertain the kids. Youth leaders show the latest videos. Educators use movies to train and inspire. But all of these church workers may be, unknowingly, breaking the law.
What’s The Big Deal?
Most of us probably ignore that copyright warning at the beginning of DVDs. But it’s there to remind people of the importance of abiding by the copyright law. Pre-recorded motion pictures and other audiovisual works (including DVDs, Blu-Rays, and movie streams/downloads) are authorized for personal home use only. Special permission must be granted for any public performance—and that includes churches. The Federal Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that violations can result in substantial fines, up to $150,000 per infringement.
The Church Video License
Now, there’s an affordable, convenient solution. Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc. (CCLI) and Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) have partnered to create Christian Video Licensing International (CVLI) and the Church Video License, which offers blanket copyright coverage for titles from more than 650 producers.
Through an agreement with studios and producers, the CVLI Church Video License provides legal coverage for churches and for other ministry organizations to show DVDs and videocassettes of motion pictures. (Each organization needs to be specifically covered.) Coverage includes playing just a few minutes of a movie all the way up to showing the full-length feature.
The Church Video License is one of the most cost effective and convenient ways for churches and other ministry organizations to protect themselves from the possibility of being fined for illegal use of DVDs and videocassettes.
Depending on your needs, CVLI offers Producer package options. The Total Package offers over 500 producers, including major studios. But if you only need videos focused on religious and family-based
themes, check out the Family Values Package.
What The License Covers
- Pastors can use selected movies to illustrate sermon points.
- Sunday schools and Youth Groups can view the latest videos.
- Educational classes can use videos for teaching and training.
- Churches can host special event movie nights.
What The License Does Not Cover
This license does not cover materials that have been copied from another source or recorded from television. It also does not cover charging an admission fee for video showings or where specific titles have been advertised or publicized.
This license covers manufactured DVD’s and videocassettes purchased, rented or borrowed. For full terms of the agreement, please see Terms and Conditions.