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What Is The Importance of a CCLI License? Do I Really Need One?

Do I Need a CCLI License?

The CCLI license is necessary for any worship music ministries. It is an agreement between the church that uses the music and CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing Inc.) that makes sure that the proper legal rights are in place for any songs that are used by a worship team or pastor.

So, do you need a CCLI license? Yes, it is necessary! Failing to get this license can result in large fines, lawsuits, and even imprisonment depending on how much material this enables the songs to be used in a church setting.

The CCLI license is needed so you can perform or reproduce copyrighted songs in your church setting. It ensures that the copyright holder is paid royalties for any use of their material and that the appropriate parties receive them.

The CCLI is Here to Help You

The rules are not as complex as non-church copyright laws, CCLI makes it much easier for churches to stay within proper guidelines. All songs are covered by this service unless specifically noted that they are not.

The biggest advantage of dealing with CCLI instead of any other company that deals in licenses are the fact that they know church music. They understand what churches need to do to be legal, and they are Christian-based.


Their purpose is not to take money from churches, but to make sure that copyright laws are followed.


There are lawsuits against churches for copyright infringement all the time. However, it is all too often that this is due entirely to ignorance or carelessness regarding copyrights and licenses. You would not want lawsuits filed against your church because of this.

Church worship

Online Help

There are online tools that can help you find out if a song is copyrighted and available for use through the CCLI. These services find all of the royalties due so that the copyright holders receive exactly what they need from your congregation.

CCLI Provides Legal Indemnification to Your Church

The license that comes with the CCLI service means that you have legal assurance backing up your use of any copyrighted material in the songs contained within its catalog. If ever there is a lawsuit, it is also backed by CCLI itself so you do not have to hire your lawyer to defend the service.

Indemnification implies that you will not be sued for your use of any songs in the catalog. Instead, CCLI would pay out of its pocket to defend the church. It is like insurance. CCLI is the insurance company, while your church is the insured.

Livestreaming Is Also Protected

Live streaming is growing exponentially each year. It is becoming more and more common for churches to offer their services online. CCLI’s webcast license allows this material to be legally available on the internet. This means that you do not have to worry about copyright infringement should someone download your service.

While your congregation may not be expanding at the church itself your web congregation is growing rapidly. You need to be prepared for those who are not able to attend your worship service, this is a great way for them to still be a part of what you are doing.

You Cannot Project Music Without the CCLI License

Many churches use projectors to display lyrics, chord charts, and even videos in the background of their services. Unless you are projecting copyrighted material without permission, this is entirely legal in all other situations.

The license provided by CCLI makes this possible for your church legally to show copyrighted material in this way. This includes screencasting and other ways that you can display media to your congregation without it being limited just to lyrics. 

Also, this includes a video recording of the service to be used for internal reasons. This is why it is important to make sure that you have permission expressed in writing to show copyrighted material in this way.

The CCLI Provides Multi-Media Usage Rights

If you want to distribute DVDs with your music, use the internet to share it or any other multi-media usage that falls into copyright violations then you need the correct license to do so. This is provided by the CCLI service and ensures that your church is protected.

If you record a special night of worship and many members on and offline want to see it again. A license allows you to put it on a DVD and give them out. When you have a special guest come to minister and sing or play an instrument this license will keep your church legal and covered legally.

The CCLI Provides Dramatic Rights

If you have any live drama or other live presentations at your church, this does fall under copyright infringement so long as it uses copyrighted material without the appropriate license provided by CCLI. This is true of song lyrics or videos that are being used in the presentation.

There is also those time when there are adult or children’s musical or other dramatized presentations where the lyrics are being sung. Here is another example of where knowing what songs are copyrighted and for these services so you can be legal with your church.

Musicals are always popular at Christmas time or Easter. This is another place where you need to have the proper licenses for your music in these presentations.

If your youth group leads a church service and there is a skit and they use music to do so. Then you need a license to provide the proper protection for your church.

The CCLI Provides Royalty Plan Options

Not all churches have the same budget for their music. The royalty options available through the CCLI service are very helpful. Two different royalty plans can be used, depending on your budget and needs as a church.

The costs for a CCLI license differ from church to church, depending on your budget and how much music you need. The plans that churches can choose from when they sign up for a personal license with CCLI vary on their needs and the amount of music that they use.

The plan for churches with a larger budget is called the mega-plan. It gives you unlimited access to all songs in CCLI’s catalog as well as those from affiliated companies. This means that you have the full legal authority to do broadcasts, webcasts, DVDs, CD distributions, live performances, and several other options. Refer to the CCLI website for prices.

The CCLI Provides Variety

Would you like to use over 200,000 songs in your church? Of course, you would! All of these songs are available through the CCLI service and it even provides customized planning options for churches that need help finding the right songs for their services.

The variety of music is not limited to one genre of music, as many churches choose to do. CCLI provides songs from many different genres and makes the service available in both English and Spanish languages. How many language options are there for songs? CCLI provides over 200 different languages to choose from.

The CCLI Provides Music Not Available Anywhere Else

CCLI also frequently provides new music that is not available through any other means. This includes independent artists and new releases from well-known bands and performers. This helps your church to have a fresh lineup of music each week while still being able to enjoy the latest and greatest in Christian music.

Your organization may stay on top of the newest music while still avoiding copyright infringement problems thanks to the CCLI service.

It Is Needed If You Want To Show a Video or DVD Clip

Copyright infringement can be costly, especially if a church does it unknowingly by showing copyrighted material without the CCLI license. This can be anything from a “snippet” of a song or even a short clip of video footage, so you must have this license to avoid the hassle and expense of a lawsuit over using music in your services.

CCLI licenses include the rights to show video and motion picture clips taken from DVDs. If you use music videos in your service, this is an option that must be considered if you want to legally play these works during your service.

Needed Websites for CCLI Information:

In Conclusion

The purchase of a CCLI license is an important way to support the Christian music industry. You are providing for your church’s needs. However, you are also supporting many musicians in their careers and ministries.

As a ministry, you do not want to unknowingly steal from those who have worked hard to create something that you now wish to use. It’s critical to learn more about the CCLI licensing procedure and whether your church needs a license. There are some services provided at no cost.

A license will become a valuable resource for your organization and future ministries. For churches, copyright infringement fines are can be severe enough to put the church in financial jeopardy. There are plenty of other causes for churches to close, this should not be one of them.

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