Don’t Make This CCLI Mistake

If you work with faith based organizations, you are probably familiar with the Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) organization.  This organization allows faith groups to purchase a licensing number under which they can legally use copyrighted worship songs. You may have seen the numbers listed at the end of displayed worship song texts.

But here’s something you may not know.  If you are hosting an event, and worship songs are projected, they must be licensed under the number of the hosting site, not the visiting group.  This also means that the event location will be responsible for reporting the songs used, so that royalties can be paid to the appropriate artists.

The director of a large Christian conference center was surprised when he was contacted by CCLI and asked for a report of all the activity in the past six months.  He had been operating under the assumption that the visiting groups were reporting the songs they used under their license numbers.  He was shocked to learn it was his responsibility, and it took many weeks to track down all of the groups that had attended and get song information from them.  Now, he includes a request for song information in the registration packet and reports songs on a weekly basis.

Organizations will be contacted by CCLI every two and a half years and asked for a reporting on the past six months.  It is best to get into the habit of making a report every week, instead of scrambling to gather information after the fact.  You can log in to report songs at  The CCLI website has a special module where you can look up songs, report them, and even invite other staff to report songs as well.

Copyrights and legal perimeters can be confusing, but with a little effort on the front end this is one area where you can breathe easy.  If you host faith based organizations during an event, take the time to be aware of this responsibility and know how you will address it.