CCLI Guide for Worship Teams & Churches

CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) is an organization that aims to simplify copyright law and licensing for Christian music and media. What used to be complex has been made simple, whether you’re a local church, organization, worship team, or even an individual who wishes to perform, play, stream, or sing Christian worship songs.

In this guide, we’re going to break down what CCLI is, how it benefits churches and organizations around the globe, and how you can get started with CCLI today.

What is CCLI?

CCLI is an organization that provides licensing services for Christian-themed works and media. The organization was officially founded in 1988 (when it was incorporated and had its name changed to CCLI from previously held Starpraise Ministries) and has since worked to create guidelines for copyright usage within the Christian community.

Whenever a church or Christian organization member of CCLI wishes to stream, broadcast, play, distribute, or rehearse, they can do so with the knowledge that all of the licensing and copyright protections have been handled.

About Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI)

Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) is an international organization that provides copyright licensing services for Christian authors and publishers. The organization provides licensing services for various media formats, including books, music, video, and software. CCLI also offers training courses on copyright law and licensing.

Obtaining a Church Copyright License

When a church desires to use copyrighted material, they need to obtain a church copyright license to begin using its material legally. This license is typically obtained from the copyright holder, who grants permission to use their copyrighted material per specific terms and conditions.

Ccli Guide

This is where CCLI comes in with its Church Copyright License offerings, making it easy for churches and organizations to be legally covered while using the songs, lyrics, arrangements, or other works.

CCLI’s copyright licensing covers accessing SongSelect, displaying lyrics for congregational singing or visual projection in a service, recording and capturing services with audio and video and live music, making custom arrangements of songs, and translating songs into different languages, printing songs and lyrics, and more.

What are the Services Offered by CCLI?

CCLI offers various services to help Christian publishers and authors protect their intellectual property. These services include copyright registration, international licensing, and online tracking of licenses. CCLI also provides resources to help Christian publishers and authors navigate copyright law.

Copyright Licensing for Worship Media & Worship Music

Copyright licensing can be a significant part of the budget and funds for worship media and music. Generally, copyright licenses protect the rights of the composer, songwriter, or artist who created the work. This protection allows these individuals to receive royalties for their creative work. Copyright licensing can also help ensure that worship media and music are available to the public without violating copyright laws.

Copyright licensing can be complex, but by using CCLI’s copyright license offerings, you can obtain a license depending on the size of your church, congregation, or member base.

Royalties to Artists

There are many ways for artists to make money from their work. Some methods are more common than others, but all of them can give the artist a slice of the pie. CCLI pays artists royalties based on reports detailing the times their work is used in churches, schools, or organizations.

Christian Songwriter & Worship Song Protections

Songwriters and artists who create original songs, media, or lyrics deserve to have their works protected under copyright law. CCLI handles all of the logistics for songwriters and artists, enabling them to distribute their media and receive royalties for usage.

How Can I Get Copyright Registration through CCLI?

By contacting CCLI and working with them as a songwriter and artist, you’ll be able to distribute your media to the Christian community and allow hundreds of thousands of worldwide churches to use your content in their services and events.

CCLI works with artists and songwriters to ensure that you receive fair compensation for usage of your products and that you get greater visibility of your work once it’s listed on their SongSelect platform.

CCLI, Copyright Law, and Licenses

CCLI provides resources about copyright law and licensing to help you understand and navigate the system’s complexity. As long as your church, school, or organization obtains the proper licensing for the works you use in your services, events, or meetings, you can rest assured that you are covered and protected.

Who is the Copyright Owner?

The copyright owner is the person or organization that created the copyrighted work, which as a songwriter or artist, is yourself!

What is the Cost of Copyright Registration through CCLI?

Copyright registration pricing through CCLI differs based on your congregation or audience size. We recommend looking at their Copyright License or Streaming License pages for up-to-date pricing information.

How Long Does Copyright Registration Last through CCLI?

CCLI can help you properly register your copyright at the appropriate Copyright Office as a songwriter or artist. Copyright protection in the United States for works that the artist created after January 1, 1978 — ones that were not made for hire or as a part of a job — last for the author’s life and 70 years after their death. For works created for hire, anonymously, or pseudonymously, copyright protection lasts 95 years from first publication or 120 years from initial creation, whichever period is shorter.

The copyright term is the maximum time copyright law can protect a work. Once a copyright has expired, it is no longer protected by law. Registration with CCLI provides an official record of your copyright ownership.

Using CCLI in Your Church or Organization

Christian copyright licensing international (CCLI) provides a simple way for churches and other organizations to comply with copyright law. CCLI helps churches and other organizations to comply with the terms of their contracts while also helping to protect the intellectual property of their members.

Worship Teams

Worship teams can use CCLI licensing to use music, vocals, chord charts, and sheet music in their services and performances.

Chord Sheets, Vocal Sheets, Sheet Music, and Song Sheets

When your worship team registers with CCLI, you’ll be able to use the chord sheets, vocal sheets, chord charts, sheet music, or song sheets needed to rehearse and practice Christian worship songs and music.

SongSelect Integration

If you want an easy, intuitive way to search for songs by their authors, titles, lyrics, or keywords, then CCLI SongSelect can be an excellent option. Song select has an extensive list of lyric, chord, lead, and vocal sheets with a database of over 100,000 songs to choose from! 

Congregational Singing

Churches can use a CCLI license to legally sing Christian worship songs as a congregation without worrying about whether or not they are honestly & legally doing so.

Song Lyrics & Hymns

If your church or choir needs specific song lyrics or hymns and wants to ensure proper licensing has been obtained, this can be done through the CCLI system.

Worship Service

For worship services, your worship team and any participants can obtain CCLI registration to ensure that you legally use all of the songs and media you choose to play, sing, stream, or perform.

Obtaining Permission for Song Use

By obtaining a CCLI license, you are securing permission for song or media use.

Visit the CCLI Website to Learn More

If you wish to learn more, visit the CCLI website to obtain additional information on licensing and the works and media published within the CCLI network.

Song Search through CCLI SongSelect

SongSelect is the ultimate resource for finding audio, sheet music, lyrics, and more for your church or organization.

It allows you to intuitively search for songs, find music sheets, get previews of songs, find popular songs, and know that everything you license is copyright ready and has the appropriate copyright information and licensing handled.


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