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FAQs

One License offers copyright reprints for congregational music to help you inspire singing and worship. One License allows you to reprint music for congregational use, in a worship aid, bulletin, or projection. One License does not cover music reprints for the choir, ensemble, instrumentalists, or accompanists.

One License licenses are available on an annual basis, a single-use basis, or for a special event up to one week in length. One License also has separate licenses for those wishing to podcast or stream a religious service, or for those wishing to create practice-tracks for rehearsal purposes.

One License works with an impressive list of Member Publishers to provide an unparralled list of popular congregational songs. Other licensing companies work with different publishers and do not share titles with One License.

If the title is owned by a One License Member Publisher, then it is covered under the license. You can search titles here. If you are certain that the work is owned or administered by a Member Publisher but do not find a title in our database, One License allows you to manually submit the song for inclusion in our reprint license. Manually submitted titles are carefully reviewed by our One License team before being accepted into our database of covered music.

You can reproduce the words (lyrics) and music (melody) used by a congregation or organization in a religious service for songs owned or administered by the Member Publishers of One License. Reproduction may be in the form of a bulletin, program, order of service, song sheet, songbook, transparency, or by electronic storage and retrieval system for the projection of words or music or both. Reproductions may not be permanently bound into a worship aid that is sold, published, or shared with other congregations.

Your license is intended for the reproduction of words and/or music for the congregation or those attending the event. Specifically excluded are choir parts, accompaniments, full scores, and instrumental parts of any kind. Additionally, no choral music (octavos) may be reproduced, except that part of the work that may be identified in the score as intended for congregational singing (commonly called a music or reprint box).

The fee is based on the average weekly attendance of your organization/congregation. Please see the Options and Prices page for more information.

Reporting is easy via our online tools and ensures composers and artists are compensated for their music. A One License license holder is required to report 100% of the music reprinted under the license. For more information, you can view a tutorial video on reporting.

You should report "Words and Music" because you are going to sing the tune, even if the music notes are not present on the reprint.

With an Annual License, weddings, funerals, and one-time events (confirmation, baccalaureate service, etc.) are included. Simply report the titles for each service or event in which they occur. If you are obtaining a Single-Use License for a wedding, funeral, etc., calculate the fee based on the number of participants in each specific event. A Single-Use License (24 hours) or Event License (one week) covers all Member Publisher congregational music.

You may report just once, but you will report the total number of times you used each song each week. The total number of times a song is used is dependent on the number of services or Masses each song is used at during a week.

If you produce a seasonal booklet that is used for multiple weeks, you report the number of services or Masses each song is used in each week. For planning purposes, you are able to report twelve weeks in the past and six weeks into the future. Keep in mind that extended-use booklets/hymnal supplements are valid only so long as your license is in force.
Prompt reporting ensures that royalties are properly distributed to publishers and composers who create the wonderful music we sing. Composers and Member Publishers depend on consistent reporting for their income. A One License license holder is required to report 100% of the music reprinted under the license, and convenient online reporting tools make reporting convenient and easy. You can view a tutorial video on reporting here.
Do nothing. You do not need to report if you did not use a One License-covered title during a week. Only report if you have usage to report.
You will report the number of services or Masses each song is used at each week.
The Member Publisher page is updated regularly. If a publisher is not listed, then they are not currently a member of the service.
Most copyright holders are amenable to making a lyric change for a particular reason, usually as long as the change is temporary and not for commercial purposes, and kept within a specific location. Some copyright holders (the Taizé Community as an example) do NOT permit changes to their materials. Please contact the appropriate Member Publisher directly with any request to change lyrics.
Your One License subscription permits the reprinting of music for the congregation. If your congregation sings in parts and the item you wish to reprint is published in a typical four-part hymnal version, you may reprint that version under this license.
  • A melody is just that: a unison tune. This is what you typically print under your One License rights.
  • An adaptation is often someone’s reworking of a traditional or public domain hymn or folk melody. If the adapter has made significant changes, the “new” version may well be under copyright. Look at the printed version you have to determine if there a claim to copyright associated with the adaptation.
  • An arrangement may involve the accompaniment, choral parts, a descant, parts for instruments, and so on. None of these components fall under the One License agreement, however. Note: If the basic melody is not under copyright, it may be reprinted without permission.
  • Harmonization usually refers to the four-part SATB setting. If a harmonization is under copyright and you are reprinting it for your congregation, your license permits this. If, however, the copyright harmony is for a public domain melody, and you are printing melody only, the melody can be printed without permission.

If you are planning to reprint a song, you must have a published copy of the congregational version of that song in your possession. Look for the copyright notice on the commercially published copy of the work (usually a hymnal, missal, song book or congregational sheet music). Public domain pieces will usually not include any claim of copyright on the page, either at the top or bottom of the piece of music.

When a text or music is under copyright, the copyright owner states their claim through the three-part notice: © (year) (name). In some cases, though, these notices are lumped either in the front or the back of the collection, so check carefully.

Other ways to tell are by examining the dates attached to author’s and composer’s names. For “Silent Night,” the printed page credits the text to Joseph Mohr, 1792–1849; the translation to John F. Young, 1820–1885, and the tune to Franz X. Gruber, 1787–1863. Since all died more than seventy years ago, it is a relatively firm conclusion that words and music are in the public domain.

But, if after Gruber’s name and dates were added “Arrangement, John Doe, 1998,” along with a claim to copyright, such as “© 1998, ABC Music Co.,” it would be clear that there is a claim to copyright on this piece, and because of all the other dates involved, that can only apply to the arrangement. For the purpose of reprinting the words and melody, both of which are clearly in the public domain, no permission is needed.

To summarize: If there is no claim to copyright on the printed page, or in the front or back of the particular collection or work, it is reasonably safe to assume that the work is in the public domain.

Use the following form to create your unique copyright line:

Words: John Doe, © 1988 ABC Music Co.; Music: Jane Doe, © 1990 XYZ Publications. All rights reserved. Reprinted under One License #A-000000.

If words and music are by the same composer, you may combine these lines. This information must be typed into your worship aid/bulletin/slide show/etc., but the location (after each song, beginning, end, etc.) is up to you and your formatting. The copyright symbol (circle with the C in the middle) can be created by typing (c) into your program. Please also include your One License license number with your reprint or projection.

Please record the song title as it appears in your source document. For Mass parts, we recommend listing the Mass setting first, then the part of the Mass setting; “Mass in E - Memorial Acclamation A”; “Mass of Creation - Glory to God.” For psalms, please record the title as “Psalm x - then any other title to be included”; example - “Psalm 34: The Cry of the Poor.”

If the tune name is known, use it. Otherwise the common title or first line of the text with which the melody is associated may be used.
When you receive your next renewal notice, you will have the option to cancel your license. When you cancel your license you must destroy all material copied under the One License license.

Podcast/Streaming License Questions

Learn how the Podcast/Streaming License works.

Advances in technology have made it possible to podcast and stream worship services conveniently and inexpensively. Congregation members and clergy have found that having a Podcast/Streaming License is a perfect way to create broad awareness and support for the efforts of their institution. A podcast is a digital and/or video file made available on the Internet for downloading to watch at a future time. If an organization would like its viewers to watch the event live, they can do that by streaming the service.
If your congregation already has an existing Annual License, the Podcast/Streaming License cost is prorated for the rest of the term of the Annual License. For convenience, in subsequent years the Podcast/Streaming License and Annual License may be renewed simultaneously.

The One License Podcast/Streaming License allows a congregation to podcast over the Internet recordings of live worship services that contain music and other content represented by one of the One License Member Publishers, provided three conditions are met:

  1. One License Podcast/Streaming License holders are also required to have a One License Annual Reprint License.
  2. The number of downloads allowed under a Podcast License is limited to three times the average weekly attendance as established by a congregation’s Annual Reprint License.
  3. All copyrighted content contained in the podcast/stream is reported through the One License reporting system.
  4. The podcast/stream is available for download on the internet for no more than one year.

Q - Is the list of Member Publishers the same for both the Podcast/Streaming License and the Annual License?

No. There are some publishers who participate in the Annual License that do not participate in the Podcast/Streaming License. Please see the current list of Member Publishers.
The Podcast/Streaming License covers music from our participating Member Publishers. If the Member Publisher is a podcast/streaming participant, then all their songs are covered. Some denominations retain rights to their liturgical content or scripture readings, and these denominations need to be contacted directly for policies relating to podcasting/streaming these materials.
The Podcast/Streaming License only covers podcasts of live worship services. No use of commercial masters or publisher-owned recordings is covered.
Absolutely! With the Podcast/Streaming License, you should report any music of Member Publishers that is used, even if you do not need to reprint the music in your bulletin or project it on a screen.
There are many simple-to-use technologies. Some congregations use the combination of Apple GarageBand, which quickly and simply enables a PC or Mac to podcast services via the iTunes store.
Our customer service team is happy to help. Call us at 1-800-ONE-1501 during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday, and we will be happy to help you.

Practice-Track Questions

Learn how the Practice-Track License works.

You can make a practice track of any song copyrighted (owned entirely 100%) by a participating or combination of One License Member Publishers. You can also use any master of a song if the master is owned by of of the One License Member Publishers.
With the Practice-Track License you need to report each recording you decide to share with your ensemble. In the case of a new recording of individual parts, you should just report one use of the song.
Once you have made and paid for the track, it's yours for practice and rehearsal purposes as long as your Practice Track License has not expired. Once your Practice-Track License expires, or has not been renewed, any copies made under the license should be destroyed.
Practice-track masters must come from a master recording or demo recording of a Member Publisher or from a homemade demo recording.

No. A Mechanical License is a license that grants certain limited permissions to rerecord a piece of music that is under copyright. A Master-Use License covers a commercially available recorded track, but does not cover the underlying song. (In many cases, the publisher of a song can be different from the owner of a commercially available master, so in copying a master recording typically both a Mechanical License and a Master-Use License are required.)

The One License Practice-Track License is a convenient, cost-effective alternative to both the Mechanical License and Master-Use License, all administered quickly and easily online. A choral director can use the One License Practice-Track License to legally make copies of a recorded song from our Member Publishers (or make their own recording) and then distribute that practice track to a choral group or ensemble for rehearsal purposes.