Copyright Resources

Introduction (why Copyright is important)

Churches, schools and organisations create, distribute or display songs, service sheets and may use literary, artistic or dramatic work, film or sound recording in on-going or event based worship and activities. Copyright owners should be fairly compensated for the copying of their works and, under the Copyright Act 1968, copyright owners have certain rights.

Reproducing copyright material without the copyright owner’s permission will usually be an infringement of copyright. Dealing with part of a work may also infringe copyright if that part is important to the work – it need not be a proportionally large part.  Copyright may also be infringed by authorising or facilitating the infringing act of another party; importing articles containing copyright material; and by sharing or selling infringing articles.

There are no general provisions in the Copyright Act allowing churches to use copyright material without the copyright owner’s permission. Under copyright law, churches and other religious organisations are in the same position as non-profit organisations, companies, local councils and individuals. With the proper copyright licences in place, churches, organisations and schools are legally covered to display films, play or perform music, download songs or lyrics, and copy, reproduce, and distribute the words and images contained within.

Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) is the international copyright licensing body that licenses the use of intellectual material used by Christian churches. APRA AMCOS and CCLI have entered into a partnership allowing CCLI to license the use of musical works on behalf of APRA AMCOS, that is, the right to publicly perform, reproduce and communicate musical works by churches. 

Church Copyright Licence which permits churches to project or print out the words and music to the world’s great worship songs and hymns and the church is covered for recording services on behalf of those unable to attend in person.

Music Reproduction Licence which enables churches to legally photocopy or scan typeset pages from many of the songbooks and music publications commonly used by churches. It also permits you to share sheet music digitally—such as by emailing PDFs to others or by downloading music from a file-sharing app.

The Church Video Licence provides the legal cover required to publicly show film scenes during services and full-length films during outreach and social activities.

Pubic Performance Licence allows for public performances of live music at non-worship service events such as youth groups, choir or band performances, social and Christmas Carol events.

Streaming Licence provides coverage to enable streaming or podcasting of recorded worship services.

More information on CCLI can be found at

More information:

Protecting Your Work

If you are the creator of work, under both Australian and international law, copyright protection is automatic and occurs when the work is created - regardless of whether published or not.  The Australian Attorney General’s offices suggests, to ensure that your work will be used only as you intend, it is advisable to mark it with the © symbol, the name of the copyright owner and the year in which the work was created.

Source: Christian Copyright Licensing International 2019

Common Anglican Copyright materials (APBA and AAPB)

A Prayer Book for Australia (APBA) 1995

The copyright for A Prayer Book for Australia is administered by Broughton Publishing, the publishing arm of the Anglican Church of Australia.

Broughton Publishing aims to maintain the integrity of the text while promoting the use of the APBA widely. The APBA is available for purchase in printed form as well as electronically through epray:

APBA is an authorised text approved by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia and the copyright restrictions ensure that there are no unauthorised versions of the text in circulation.  Your licence fee for APBA enables Broughton Publishing to keep APBA in print.

Churches, Educational Institutions or other organisations that regularly copy, reproduce or project material from the APBA for liturgical or worship purposes are required to be covered by an APBA Licence.  Your licence fee for APBA enables Broughton Publishing to keep APBA in print.  No licence is required to reproduce the weekly collect only in weekly Parish Bulletins.

The APBA licence is renewable each calendar year and is payable in advance.  Material reproduced or projected from APBA must be acknowledged with the following statement: “From A Prayer Book for Australia Copyright © Broughton Publishing 1995”

No licences permit the user to make any part of the APBA available online.

One off reproductions (less than 12 per year) can be made by either educational or church institutions for liturgical or church purposes free of charge, provided they are dated, attentive to the integrity of the text, and provided the copies are not made available for sale or made available online. Copies must be marked “From A Prayer Book for Australia [page numbers] Copyright © Broughton Publishing 1995”.

Educational Institutions or students may reproduce material from the APBA under their licence administered by Copyright Agency Limited, however, this is limited to only 10% of the total work, and is permitted for research and study purposes only.

Need to apply for an APBA Licence?

Source: Broughton Publishing 2019

An Australian Prayer Book (AAPB) 1978

Members of the Anglican Communion and churches of other denominations are welcome to make print or electronic copies of An Australian Prayer Book, in whole or in part for liturgical or church purposes, free of charge provided they are attentive to the integrity of the text, that copies are not made available for sale and that the source of the extract is appropriately acknowledged e.g. title and page number.

Educational institutions may make print or electronic copies for educational purposes provided that the educational institution has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Copyright Act.

All other requests for copyright permission should be directed to Broughton Publishing

Should the Church/Diocese wish to disseminate this information amongst its parishes or ministry groups it may do so.

For further information about prayer book copyright and annual licences please email

Source: Broughton Publishing 2019

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