Q on how to go about purchasing a song/music for church use

I imagine there are folks from my Church with this answer but as I cannot get a hold of any at the moment I come to you mighty and knowledgeable dopers.

One of my friends has found a song she thinks would be great for us to sing at church and I have been asked by her to find out where to purchase the “rights” - and basically I have no idea what I am (or where for that matter)looking for.

The song is Leaning on the everlasting arms/praise the mighty name of Jesus Sung by Jocelyn Brown http://new.music.yahoo.com/jocelyn-brown/tracks/medley-leaning-on-the-everlasting-arms-praise-the-mighty-name-of-jesus--57136235

I have googled my fingers raw

This title is just too much…

c’mon the “e” and the “w” right beside each other - easily done and I bet I wasn’t the first

I would prefer folks actually gave me info/suggestions rather than commenting on my unfortunate typing mistake

Why don’t you just sing the song, and if someone objects to your use of it, then you can address that issue when it comes up? I don’t think Jocelyn Brown has undercover agents snooping around in churches and making sure people don’t sing her songs. In fact, I’m not aware that anyone needs to purchase musical rights to a song in order for people to just sing it in church.


(I Am Not An United States Copyright Lawyer)

However, licensing a song for a one-time non-commercial, non-recorded use should fall under the “fair use” clausule of the US copyright law. As such, you do not have to apply to use the song. Obtaining a performance license can be wildly expensive - up to $100s per second. (We had to license a Turbonegro song for a commercial back in 2005, ended up costing about $7800 for 40 seconds - and that was limited distribution.)

Needless to say, I don’t think that’s your best option. I’d look into “Fair Use” in your state, maybe have a chat with a lawyer buddy, if you have any that specialize in that field.

But I’d recommend just sending a generic query to a representative of the recording company. Mostly they’ll just scan the document, see the words “one-time event,” “non-commercial” and “please” and rubberstamp it. Some of them will say no, most will say yes. Hers appear to be Warner Bros. Records, but she’s released records on other labels as well.

On the other hand, since it appear to be a hymn/gospel song you’re looking into, you could try to check if it’s such an old one that it’s fallen into the public domain. The song “leaning on the evelasting arms” is originally from 1884, for instance, which means it’s in the public domain and can be used freely.

Note: I fixed the thread title.

twicks, Cafe Society moderator

I don’t think you have to pay for rights if it’s just somebody doing a special at church. It’s the same thing as congregational singing. There are songs in every hymnal that are still under copyright, and royalties are not paid for their use, either.