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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

The "Religious Service" Exemption to Copyright Infringement

Volume 4 . Chapter 9 . § 9-05.09
Key point 9-05.09. A copyrighted musical or dramatico-musical work of a religious nature may be performed or displayed in the course or services at a place of religious worship or other religious assembly. This is an exception to the copyright owner's exclusive right to publicly perform the work.

Section 110(3) of the Copyright Act specifies that the "performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work or of a dramatico-musical work of a religious nature, or display of a work, in the course of services at a place of worship or other religious assembly" is not an infringement of copyright. Performance of a nondramatic literary work means reading from a book or periodical in a nondramatic manner. Thus, for example, a copyrighted translation ...

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