A FEW THOUGHTS ON PERMISSIONS
We believe the music we produce is, ultimately, a gift from God meant to bless local churches, so, we’re excited whenever we hear about people singing or using our songs!
Making music takes time, money, and effort, so laws exist to ensure musicians are appropriately compensated and acknowledged for their labors. When people use our songs for profit we have a responsibility to our writers to ensure they receive compensation.
Having said that, we totally agree that copyright/permissions stuff can be confusing. We’ve done our best to answer the most common questions we receive regarding using our music below.
USING SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC ORIGINAL RECORDINGS (i.e. original recordings from one of our albums)
Without express permission from the publisher (Sovereign Grace Music), it’s illegal to make copies (CDs, digital files, video, etc.) of our recordings. We’ve assembled a list below of common inquiries we get and what you need to do. If your desired use does not fall under one of these categories, please contact us.
- CDs/digital files for giveaways (eg. a CD mix of various songs to give away): We can normally grant this request, but please contact us first to work out the details.
- CDs/digital files for profit (selling an album that includes a Sovereign Grace Music recording): This requires a Master Use License. Please contact us for more information.
- Use of an original recording in a video for public display (eg. a slideshow shown during a church event): We can normally grant this request, but please contact us first to work out the details.
- Use of an original recording in a video to post on the web (eg. youtube lyric video, slideshow, etc.): Copyright law prohibits duplication of copyrighted material. This includes posting songs on the internet for others to stream or download. The one exception we make is if you’d like to post a video (like a slideshow, interview, animation, etc.) that includes a Sovereign Grace Music original recording in the background. You have our permission to do this as long as you include the song title, songwriter(s), copyright year, publisher information, “All rights reserved. Used by permission.”, and a link to our website (www.SovereignGraceMusic.org) at the end of the video and in the video description (all that information can be found on the song page).
For example, here’s what you’d display for “O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer”: “O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer” Music and words by Nathan Stiff © 2017 Sovereign Grace Worship/ASCAP (adm by Integrity Music). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Churches. All rights reserved. Used by permission. www.SovereignGraceMusic.org”.
- Please do not post videos that feature full album or song recordings, simply to offer free streaming of our music. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
- Use of an original recording in a video for profit: This requires a Master Use License. Please contact us for more information.
- Use of an original recording in a non-profit live stream: The CCLI Streaming PLUS License covers the use of original recordings used in non-profit live streamed services.
- Broadcasting a recording on a radio station or podcast: In order to broadcast our music, your station must be licensed with these Performing Rights Organizations: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. If you have any questions, contact us.
- Note on distributing recordings to your band: The CCLI Rehearse License no longer covers churches creating their own custom rehearsal tracks, but still covers copying commercial audio recordings. This is a great option for legally sharing music with your team for rehearsing purposes. Bob Kauflin wrote this rather outdated, but still helpful post that outlines other ways of distributing music to your team.
If you have any other questions regarding using our recordings, please contact us.
RECORDING A COVER OF A SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC SONG FOR NON-PROFIT USE ON THE INTERNET OR AS A GIVEAWAY
If you would like to record your own version of a Sovereign Grace Music song and distribute it as a giveaway or post online (on Soundcloud, Youtube, Facebook, etc.), depending on the amount of copies, we can normally give gratis permission for this. Please email us the following information and we will get back to you:
- Your name
- Name of the song you’d like to record
- Number of copies being made
- Type of media (digital, physical CD, etc.) or site/format where the song will be posted
- Whether or not it will be downloadable
- Your location (City, State, Country)
RECORDING A COVER OF A SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC SONG FOR PROFIT
We love it when new versions of our songs are produced! Because of copyright laws, you need to obtain a Mechanical License (for CDs) and/or a Digital Audio Download (MP3, AAC, WAV) through Integrity Music before you produce a new recording of any of our songs. (Tip: Requesting a license can take time. So much so that it’s probably a good idea to start your licensing process well in advance of the deadline for the manufacturing of your final project.)
USING SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC SHEET MUSIC (available for free download on our site)
If you would like to use our sheet music in a context that falls under one or more of the categories below, you have our permission to print off, copy, and use the sheet music available on our site:
- individual worship
- family worship
- churches with under 50 attendees
- small/care/community/home/Bible study (whatever you call them) groups
- churches with under 100 attendees in countries where CCLI is not available
If your context does not fall under the categories above and you want to use our sheet music, the simplest solution for you would be to obtain a CCLI License which covers certain sheet music to be photocopied but does not cover copying or duplication of choral sheet music, cantatas, musicals, handbell music, keyboard arrangements, vocal solos, instrumental works or music education publications. Copyright laws prohibit the duplication of copyrighted music without a license to do so.
If you would like to use our sheet music in a larger context and are unable to get a CCLI License, you’ll need to obtain appropriate licensing from Integrity Music.
If you have any other questions regarding using our sheet music, please contact us.
MAKING AN ARRANGEMENT OF A SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC SONG
If you’re interested in making an original choral, string, brass arrangement or orchestration of one of our songs, contact us to work out details.
PRINTING LYRICS FROM A SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC SONG IN A PUBLISHED BOOK
USING A SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC RECORDING IN A COMMERCIAL TV SHOW OR MOVIE
You’ll need to obtain a synch license through Integrity Music.
CHANGING/REMOVING/ADDING LYRICS TO A SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC SONG
As a matter of practice, we don’t give permission to change, remove, or add lyrics to our songs. We do this in order to protect the integrity of the songwriter’s original work, as well as to avoid the confusion of having multiple versions of a song in circulation. Bob Kauflin wrote a helpful post on this here. If you have any remaining questions, contact us and we’d be happy to discuss them with you.
TRANSLATING SOVEREIGN GRACE MUSIC SONGS INTO OTHER LANGUAGES
We thank God for anyone who wants to help us translate Sovereign Grace Music songs into other languages! To maintain the integrity of the original melody and lyrics, we ask that you submit your translation for approval by visiting our Translations page.
A NOTE ON “OUTSIDE” COPYRIGHTS
Outside copyrights are songs we don’t own that appear on Sovereign Grace Music projects (for example, “In Christ Alone” on Together for the Gospel Live is owned by ThankYou Music). We obtain the appropriate licenses from the song owners to use these songs on our own projects, but our license is non-transferable.
If one of our songs is co-published by Word Music or Integrity Music, you will need to contact them for copyright permissions. Sovereign Grace Music makes no representation or warranty as to your proposed use of any such material.
The information on this page is provided as a public service for church musicians seeking information about copyright. Sovereign Grace Churches makes no warranty, express or implied, nor assumes any responsibility in the use of this service or its contents for its accuracy, completeness, currency, its use for any general or particular purpose, nor that such items or use of such items would not violate or infringe rights of others.