Could your church be sued for belting out "Angels We Have Heard on High" this Christmas season? No—unless the specific arrangement you're singing is copyrighted.
You'll be pleased as Christmas punch to know that many of your favorite Christmas songs are in the "public domain"—meaning that no one holds the copyright to them.
The Christian Copyright Solutions site explains: "If a song is in the public domain, you can make any changes you want to it, including changing lyrics, or adding a verse or chorus. You can also set new music to existing public domain lyrics."
Along with "Angels We Have Heard on High," Christian Copyright Solutions also lists around three dozen other public domain Christmas songs, including:
- Come All Ye Faithful
- Away in a Manger
- Come O Come Emmanuel
- Little Town of Bethlehem
- Go Tell It on the Mountain
- Silent Night
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- The First Noel
- Joy to the World
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
To make sure your worship complies with copyright law, see the article "Understanding Worship Music Copyright Law." And then dig deep into all your copyright questions and concerns with our book Essential Guide to Copyright Law for Churches.
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