Liturgy, music, images and other resources can be protected by copyright.

This page gives advice for working within the law. Using someone else’s intellectual property without permission can be both costly and embarrassing.

Consent for photography

For information on permissions to photograph people your community please click here.


It is important to ensure that you have permission to use images – on your website, social media, as well as in print.

You cannot just find an image through google search and take it to use on your website.

This can result in large fines. You should assume that all online content belongs to somebody, and you do not have permission to use it yourself without consent from the owner.

What’s the solution?

There are some websites which offer free images licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0), or an equally useful equivalent. You can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos free of charge, without asking permission from or crediting the photographer:

Common Worship

Material from Common Worship is subject to copyright too. Full information about when permission to reproduce Common Worship text is required can be found on the copyright page on the Church of England’s website. If the material is going to be used in an act of worship, no application for permission is usually required. The CofE’s A Brief Guide to Liturgical Copyright (which is available via the copyright page) sets out when explicit permission is or is not required.

Copyright of hymns

Permission to reproduce copyright hymns should be obtained from the appropriate publisher. If you copy by any means, without permission or authority from the copyright owner or by not being covered by a copyright licence, your church could risk expensive legal action being taken against it.

Christian Copyright Licensing (CCLI)

There are a number of licences available to cover different church needs. The Music Reproduction Licence combined with the Church Copyright Licence allows churches to photocopy works and music from authorised catalogues. The Church Copyright Licence on its own allows the reproduction (not photocopying) of words only. Holders of the Church Copyright Licence can also purchase the Music Reproduction Licence which enables churches to photocopy authorised music from authorised publications. Licences and further details are available from Christian Copyright Licensing.

Female clergy preaching

Streaming church services

In March 2020, CCLI launched a Streaming Licence for churches in the UK. This licence provides a solution for churches wishing to stream or webcast their services, including the live worship, as video and audio. The Streaming Licence includes the right to show lyrics as part of the stream, to enable viewers to sing along.

The CCLI Streaming Licence permits you to stream or webcast on some social media platforms which are normally intended for personal, domestic use only, including YouTube or Facebook. If you are hosting the stream on your own church website, or via Zoom, you will also require a Limited Online Music Licence (LOML) from PRS for Music. See this section of the CCLI website for more information.