The "Religious Service" Exemption to Copyright Infringement
Key point 9-05.05. 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 of the Bible can be quoted publicly in the course of religious services, as can any book or periodical of a religious nature.
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