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Q&A: Can We Photocopy Song Booklets for Our Church?

The legal consequences of violating copyright law.

Our church’s music director had created a “chorus booklet” containing about 100 of our congregation’s favorite songs. She made 200 copies of the bpoklet, and placed them in the hymnal racks next to our church hymnals. She made the booklets because she could find no published materials containing all of our favorite songs. Some members have asked if our church is violating the copyright law by using these chorus booklets. Are we? If so, what are the potential damages? Half of the songs in the booklet are copyrighted.

The copyright law confers several “exclusive rights” upon copyright owners, including the right to make copies of the work. Any violation of a copyright owner’s exclusive rights constitutes copyright infringement. When the music director made copies of 50 copyrighted songs, she committed copyright infringement because she violated the ...

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Posted:
  • July 2, 2007

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