Does your school or parish -

  • copy music?
  • project lyrics?
  • create orders of service?

Did you know you need a licence to do that?

Church music copyright agencies provide affordable, accessible and legal means to reproduce music for worship. (see list of Agencies below)


Copyright Awareness...

Test your own Music Copyright IQ before reading further

10 Commandments: The story from one parish secretary 

Provisions offered by license holders (e.g. Word of Life) have recently changed.  Click here for updated information. 

For parishes and schools: if you buy a musical setting and/or audio files these may not be duplicated. If you require a number of copies for musicians you are required to purchase the required number.

If you have choirs: many of the publishers provide octavos (these can be ordered through Pleroma Christian Supplies). The octavos are cheaper than purchasing a number of full scores.

For music groups: you will need to purchase a copy for each musician and singer. The guitar score is cheaper than a full score. The assembly score does not have the guitar chords just the melody line and lyrics; it is cheaper than the guitar score and could easily be used for singers (the assembly scores can be ordered through Pleroma Christian Supplies).

For parishes and schools: if you use a data projector and/or an OHP you are required to hold a copyright licence. These can be purchased through copyright agents (for further information see below).

Schools must have their own copyright licence, i.e. they may not use the parish licence.

Please note

Copyright compliance regulations have always been in place.

 If you have not been observing copyright regulations, now is the time to start.

If you need assistance, please contact your liturgy desk for further information.  Each diocese has one or more church music copyright educators available to help parishes and schools with copyright compliance.

Copyright compliance requires parishes and schools to make sufficient funds available for the purchase of music and the purchase of a copyright licence. Music Directors, musicians, choirs and music groups may need to discuss these issues with their respective parish and school authorities.

Useful Resources

The Catholic Diocese of Wollongong grants permission to download and reproduce the following resources
Please include the following acknowledgement: "Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner, the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong."

           Guidelines: Copyright in Parish and School Liturgies

           Copyright Quick FAQ



LicensingOnline invites you to register your music on their website 


Guidelines to becoming Copyright-Compliant

There are a number of ways to ensure that you are copyright-compliant.

Purchase hymnals

Your parish may decide to purchase a set of hymnals. In purchasing hymnals the parish has also purchased the copyright for those hymns and settings used by the assembly.

The advantages of this option is that it is "once-only": you do not have to worry about keeping records of hymns, mass settings and their frequency of use; you do not have to pay ongoing copyright fees; you are copyright-compliant for the life of the hymnals.

The disadvantages are also obvious: you are locked into a set repertoire unless you decides to purchase a number of different sets of hymnals; the initial financial outlay may be huge.

Purchase Copyright Licence

A number of the large music publishers have an accord with a copyright licence agency.

Please note: not all publishers and/or musicians allow third-party agents to act on their behalf.

The three major copyright licence agents that are used by New Zealand parishes are:


Word of Life International (WOLI)

PO Box 345 Mirboo North Vic 3871, AUSTRALIA
Tel: (03) 5664 9245; 
Fax: (03) 5664 9249?

Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI)

PO Box 664 Baulkham Hills BC NSW 2153, AUSTRALIA
Freecall 1800 635 474; 
Tel: (02) 9894 5386; 
Fax: (02) 9894 5701

These copyright licence agents offer a number of different licence options.

Check in with your diocesan church music copyright educator.  It is important that you know what options are available before you decide which licence or licences best suit(s) your parish or school.   

The most popular option is a licence that allows parishes to reproduce for the assembly the words and melody line of hymns and mass settings for use with data projectors, OHPs or service sheets. With this licence you are required to keep a record of the hymns/mass settings you use and the frequency with which they are sung. These records are submitted to the copyright licence agent which will, on your behalf, pay the appropriate copyright fees due to the publisher(s). 

Another option is a licence that allows parishes to reproduce for your musicians and choirs/singers the musical accompaniment of hymns and mass settings. Like the option above, you are required to keep records for the number of photocopies and frequency of use. These records are likewise submitted to the copyright licence agent which will, on your behalf, pay the appropriate copyright fees due to the publisher(s). Please note: not all publishers and/or musicians will allow this.

Public Domain Music

Another option is to use hymns/music that are in the public domain. These are copyright-free.


Copyright law is complex.

To become copyright-compliant requires that you take the time to understand the different options mentioned above. Each of the copyright licence agents have different licence options and different requirements.  Use your diocesan Church Music Educator to ensure you have the most up to date information available.

Not all publishers/musicians have an accord with a copyright licence agent.



Copyright for Schools Leaflet