Copyright law frequently appears in the news as booksellers, record labels, and many other industries fight copyright infringement cases. Most professional church workers and laypersons desire to stay within the confines of federal copyright law. Whiel our hope is that CPH will always have a resource to meet your needs unmodified, we recognize the fact that the resouce needs of Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) churches are varied. As you use these resources, be cognizant of the potential permission issues that may arise from reprinting copyrighted materials or adapting them for your congregational use. Please do not hesitate to contact the Rights and Permission Department if you ever have a question about the copyright status of any CPH resource. Additionally, continue below to find answers to common CPH copyrights questions.
This is the most convenient licensing arragement for congergations using Lutheran Service Book as their primary source for hymns, With the purchase of this license you do not need to contact individual copyright holders for permission to reprint their text or tunes in congregational service folders or PowerPoint® presentations. Concordia Publishing House administers all the fees to copyright holders.
Prices for the license are based on your average weekly worship attendance. Current prices are listed below and are subject to change without notice.
With the purchase of LSBHymnalLicense.Net there is a requirement ot report the use of every copyrighted hymn you reprint or project on a screen. An annual $50 processing fee will be assessd for congregations that do not use the automated reporting features of Lutheran Service Builder or report using the website.
If you would ike to order this license, please call us at 1-800-325-2399.
CPH Liturgy License
With this license, congregations are granted permission to reproduce any copyrighted element from the liturgical sections of The Lutheran Hymnal, Lutheran Worship, and Lutheran Service Book for use in congregational service folders or PowerPoint® presentations. This is the only license that grants permission for use of these liturgical materials
If you would like to order this liecense, please call us at 1-800-325-2399.
Mechanical and DPD Licenses
When you record a song written by someone else, you need their permission in order to distribute it. This is regardless if you are selling it for profit, as a fundraiser, or just to cover costs.
A Mechanical License is the license issued by a publisher or copyright holder to a licensee, typically a record company or church choir, granting the licensee the right to record and release a specific composition at an agreed-upon fee, per unit manufactured and distributed.
DPD Licensing (Digital Permanent Download or Digital Phonorecord Deliveries) is the virtual version of the mechanical license. A full, permanent download (DPD) is each individual delivery of a phonorecord by digital transmission of a sound recording (embodying a musical composition) resulting in a reproduction made by or for the recipient. DPDs reside on a recipient's computer indefinitely. DPDs may be transferred to portable devices or burned onto CDs (in accordance with the rules set by the digital distributor of a specific DPD).
The fee for both mechanical and DPD licensing is set by the United States Congress. The statutory fees are determined on a per song per distribution or, if the recorded piece is over 5 minutes in length, per number of minutes per distribution basis. Current pricing information can be found at http://www.copyright.gov/fls/sl04.pdf.
To request a mechanical or DPD license, please fill out the mechanical license request form.
Quotes from in-print books or copies of out-of-print books
Please fill out the permission request form to request permission to copy material from a CPH published book or curriculum piece.
Copyrights & The Lutheran Hymnal
TLH is under copyright protection until the year 2036. However, not all hymns contained in TLH are still under copyright protection. Below is a list of hymns found in TLH that are still under copyright.
Tr = English translation
PD = public domain
|6||Tr © 1939||PD|
|7||Tr © 1940||PD|
|42||Tr © 1940||PD|
|45||stanza 3 © 1938||PD|
|75||Tr © 1940||PD|
|81||Tr © 1941||PD|
|82||Tr © 1941||PD|
|86||Tr © 1941||©1941|
|89||Tr © 1941||PD|
|90||Tr © 1941||PD|
|126||Tr © 1941||PD|
|142||Tr © 1941||PD|
|150||Tr © 1927, 1941||PD|
|169||Tr © 1939||PD|
|172||Tr © 1941||PD|
|187||Tr © 1939||PD|
|198||Tr © 1937||PD|
|211||Tr © 1940||PD|
|216||Tr © 1938||PD|
|224||Tr © 1941||PD|
|238||Tr © 1940||PD|
|243||Tr © 1941||PD|
|249||Tr © 1941||PD|
|253||Tr © 1941||PD|
|260||Tr © 1941||PD|
|264||Tr © 1938||PD|
|266||Tr © 1938||PD|
|267||Tr © 1941||PD|
|272||Tr © 1940||PD|
|275||Tr © 1940||PD|
|299||Tr © 1939||PD|
|313||Tr © 1941||PD|
|315||Tr © 1941||PD|
|362||Tr © 1941||PD|
|383||Tr © 1938||PD|
|408||Tr © 1939||PD|
|470||Tr © 1940||PD|
|477||Tr © 1938||PD|
|479||Tr © 1925||PD|
|498||Tr © 1941||PD|
|509||Tr © 1938||PD|
|510||stanzas 2-3 © 1927 CPH||PD|
|540||Tr © 1937||PD|
|545||Tr © 1938||PD|
|560||Tr © 1938||PD|
|590||Tr © 1941||PD|
|598||Tr © 1941||PD|
|599||Tr © 1941||PD|
|603||Tr © 1939||PD|
|630||Tr © 1939||PD|
|655||Tr © 1939||PD|
|659||Tr © 1941||PD|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Copyright Law?
The Copyright Act of 1976, as amended, is the federal law that governs intellectual property. It grants the copyright owner the exclusive rights to: 1) reproduce the work; 2) prepare derivative works based upon the work; 3) distribute copies of the work; 4) perform the work publicly; 5) display the work publicly; and 6) make sound recordings of the work, during the term of copyright. It prohibits others from exercising any of the above rights without obtaining the permission of the copyright holder.
Where did Copyright Law come from?
Current U.S. copyright law has its origins in early 18th Century England when the parliament decided that it was good for the author of a work to have the exclusive rights to reproduce that work for a period of time. With lobbying by noted Early American authors such as Noah Webster and Thomas Paine, Article I, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the right to grant exclusive rights to copyright holders.
How do I know if I have to ask permission before printing a hymn in our bulletin or using it in our PowerPoint presentation?
Hymns may be covered by three or more different copyrights. While many of the ancient hymns tunes of the church are no longer under copyright protection, many of the settings and text translations may still be copyrighted. Thus, you must first determine whether you desire to reprint only the text, or also the tune/setting. After determining what you want to reprint, look in the hymnal to determine whether or not the portion you wish to reprint is covered by copyright. Lutheran Worship (LW) lists copyright holders beginning on page 969. Lutheran Service Book (LSB) and Hymnal Supplement '98 (HS98) list them under the hymn. All God's People Sing (AGPS) lists them beginning on page 272. A list of the hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH) still under copyright can be found on this website.
Once I determine that a hymn is covered by copyright, what do I do next?
You need to obtain permission from the copyright holders to include the hymn text and/or tune in your bulletin or PowerPoint. You will need to contact each copyright holder for that permission or determine if the copyright holder is part of any licensing service to which your congregation belongs.
What are the licenses available for copyright permission with LSB?
With the introduction of LSB, CPH negotiated with the other copyright holders to provide licenses for use of the hymns and liturgical materials from LSB by congregations in their bulletins and PowerPoint presentations. All but a few publishers agreed to be part of the licenses. With the purchase of Lutheran Service Builder or an annual liturgy license congregations may reprint liturgical materials from LSB, LW and TLH. By purchasing an annual LSBHymnLicense.net you may reprint all but 3 hymn texts and 2 tunes from LSB.
If our church has a Christian Copyright Licensing Inc. ("CCLI") license or OneLicense.net, do we need LSBHymnLicense.net, the liturgy license or Lutheran Service Builder?
Both CCLI and OneLicense cover some of the copyrighted hymns in LSB but the most comprehensive license for the copyrighted hymns in LSB is LSBHymnLicense.net. Neither CCLI nor OneLicense grant you rights to reproduce the copyrighted portions of the liturgy.
How do I obtain permission to reprint copyrighted hymns found in LSB if my congregation did not purchase LSBHymnLicense.net?
If the copyright is held by Concordia Publishing House, you may fill out the form on this website , email a request to the Rights and Permissions Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, call toll-free at 1-800-325-0191 or fax at 1-314-268-1243 to obtain permission. If you email or fax, please be certain to provide the following in your request:
- your name, along with your organization's name, address & phone number;
- information on what you want to reproduce (title, composer, hymn number, page number, etc.);
- information on how you intend to use it (print in bulletin or permanent publication, number of copies, format, date of use, etc.)
In most cases, the fee is reduced or waived if a LCMS congregation desires to reprint a CPH copyrighted hymn in its bulletin. For hymns not owned by CPH, contact information for some of the more common copyright holders is listed in our hymnals or on our website. You may also contact the CPH Rights and Permissions Department for help in finding a non-CPH copyright holder.
How do I obtain permission to reprint hymns from other CPH hymnals or song books?
See the answer to question #6 above. If the song in question is a CPH copyrighted hymn and your congregation has purchased LSBHymnLicense.net, CPH grants these congregations permission to reprint our copyrighted hymn without first contacting us. Please make sure the hymn is owned by CPH and include the copyright information found in the hymnal containing the hymn. The location for copyright right information is explained in question #3.
Is The Lutheran Hymnal in public domain?
No. TLH is under copyright protection until the year 2036. However, not all hymns contained in TLH are still under copyright protection. View a list of hymns found in TLH that are still under copyright.
If our church has a Christian Copyright Licensing Inc. ("CCLI") license, may we reproduce CPH copyrighted material without seeking permission from CPH?
No. CPH is not a member of CCLI. Over the years, CPH has given LCMS churches more favorable terms for reproducing its copyrighted material than churches could have received from CCLI.
If the choral pieces that I want to order are out of stock, can I make copies?
In most cases, a publisher will allow you to make copies if a publication is out of stock and on backorder, provided the copies are destroyed upon receipt of the product. BUT you need to contact the publisher for permission before making the copies.
If we order 25 choral anthems and need 30, is it OK for us to just make 5 extra copies?
No. In this case you should call and order the five additional copies. In the event that you do not have time before choir practice to obtain additional copies from CPH, call or email the Rights and Permissions Department at CPH to ask for a license granting permission to make the five photocopies for use until the additional choral anthems are received.
If we purchase an anthem for the choir to sing, why can't we put the text in the bulletin for the congregation to follow without permission?
In general, CPH does not have the right to grant such permission without a fee. We intentionally keep the pricing of the anthem as low as possible instead of including the cost of reprint rights in the anthem. We often owe a responsibility to a composer to collect fees for reprinting texts in bulletins.
If we subscribe to Creative Worship, do we have to seek permission to reprint the material in our bulletin?
The license agreement for Creative Worship allows a subscriber to reprint most material during the three-month period that the publication covers only. Certain copyright holders will not grant a blanket license and insist that congregations obtain permission directly from them prior to reprinting or adapting their copyrighted works. In these cases, CPH attempts to provide the contact permission for these publishers.
Are there any copyright issues involved if our congregation audio or video tape our worship services?
If the service contains any copyrighted works, then you must seek permission from all copyright holders that are not covered by a blanket license to which your church may subscribe. CPH will normally grant permission for no fee to LCMS congregations if the videotape usage is limited to shut-ins. With the purchase of LSBHymnLicense.net, congregations now have the right to videotape those portions of their services taken from LSB for use by their shut-in, ill or elderly members only. Unfortunately, copyright holders were unwilling to expand this permission to allow these audio or audio-video tapes to be archived or distributed to members who were on vacation or just missed the Sunday service. Once they have been viewed by the sick, shut-in, and elderly congregational members, they must be destroyed or taped over unless additional permission is secured by the congregation from the copyright holders.
What do we need to do if we broadcast our service?
If the service is going to be broadcast on TV or radio, check with the radio or TV station and ask how to report use of copyrighted material. If not, you will need to contact a service, such as Harry Fox (www.harryfox.com), for broadcast licensing information. CPH does not handle licensing for broadcast.
What about putting our services on the web?
If congregations wish to distribute their services through the web, they will need to contact each individual copyright holder of the hymns, anthems, and liturgical materials used in each service for permission. Please call our copyright department at 800-325-0191 or email at email@example.com for further information regarding the licensing of CPH owned materials. As we are able, CPH exercises lenient policies in granting permission for our copyright materials in audio and video recordings of worship services.
How do I obtain a mechanical license?
Please fill out the form found on this website and a mechanical license will be issued. CPH charges the statutory rate as set by the U.S. Congress. However, an additional administration fee of $10 may be charged in some cases.
If a CPH publication is out of print, can I make copies?
Not without permission. The exclusive rights of copyright do not end when a work goes out of print. In some cases, CPH has transferred the copyright back to the composer or to another party. Thus you should always call CPH Rights and Permissions to inquire whether an out-of-print work is available for copying.
Do we have to get permission if we plan to adapt the material?
Yes. Preparing adaptations, arrangements and abridgements of a copyrighted text or song is considered the exclusive right of the copyright holder. Thus, you must obtain permission in advance of making such derivative works.
Is the Bible covered under copyright law?
With the exception of the King James Version, which is now in the public domain, most other modern translations used in our churches are still protected by copyright law. In many cases, the publishers of these Bibles have established generous reprint rights for noncommercial use that will allow a congregation to print Bible verses or chapters for no fee and without obtaining additional permission. Check the indicia page on your preferred translation or the publisher's website to see what terms the publisher has established.
If we purchase a Christmas or VBS program can we reuse it at a future date?
Not without first contacting CPH. Not all the songs, recitations, information, activities, etc., included with the programs are owned by CPH and you will need to obtain additional permission for their reuse or use at a date outside the year of the original program. Also, there may be a fee associated with reuse of a program itself.
If we purchase VBS or Sunday School material can we use the activities or songs for our Day School?
No. CPH continues to experiment with selling reproducible resources. Examples of this include recent Christmas services, CD's containing VBS songs, and certain activity books. In such cases, the cost of the master CD or program is more than it used to be. However, the overall cost to the church is less. Also, some authors/composers only grant CPH use of their material for a specific program. Therefore, the right granted is only to make copies in connection with that specific program, and not a general license for unlimited use in the future.
If we purchase a reproducible resource from CPH, can we share it with our sister congregation?
No, when CPH sells reproducible materials, it is only for use in your local congregation. Sharing it with a sister congregation is not permitted by the license agreement.
Do I need permission to use a quote or illustration from CPH materials in my newsletter, bulletin, Bible study, etc.?
Yes. Before permission can be granted for you to use a quote or illustration, we need to check to make sure CPH can grant permission for use of that particular quote or illustration. Our authors sometimes use quotes or illustrations from other sources and we do not have the right to grant others permission to use them. Also, we are usually contractually restricted as to the number of pages we can allow anyone to reproduce.
Why should we pay a fee for use of a copyrighted work from CPH?
It is a misconception to assume that the entire contents of a book belong to the publishing company. Publishing companies, including CPH, are held accountable by law for appropriately reimbursing copyright holders for use of their creative property. Permission fees compensate the copyright holder for the use of creative material. Since it does not represent the cost of paper, printing and shipping, permission fees are usually much less than the cost of purchasing a printed publication.
Where else can I go to get more information on copyrights?
For general information regarding copyright law, you can visit the Library of Congress' website at www.loc.gov.
Phone: (800) 325-3040
Concordia Publishing House
Copyrights & Permissions
3558 S. Jefferson Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63118