It is always best to assume that material is subject to copyright unless there is clear evidence that it is not. Remember an author, composer, speaker, artist, designer etc. obtains copyright to their work as a matter of course – unlike patents or trademarks, copyright does not have to be applied for.  

In general, an item remains in copyright for seventy years after the author / composer has died. Therefore, the newer the publication, the greater the likelihood that it is copyright material. Any use of copyright material requires the permission of the copyright holder to avoid a breach. 

These rules apply to material including that generated in the brotherhood. Printed books and magazines, electronic material, recordings, videos, CDs, etc. – all are subject to copyright and should not be used without permission.  


  1. Churches and places of worship benefit from several exemptions, but they are not exempt from copyright rules and performance licensing obligations. 
  2. Churches do not need a performance licence to play or perform copyrighted music in a service of worship. However, the use of copyrighted music outside a service of worship requires the appropriate permission or licence. 
  3. A service of worship is limited to a building with a congregation present. If the service is broadcast elsewhere, even to a closed online group, a licence is required. But note, just because it is a service of worship words and music cannot be reproduced freely in orders of service, for example, or projected onto screens without permission. However, using a hymn book (where copyright fees have already been paid) does not require a licence. 
  4. A generic CCLI licence (‘Christian Copyright Licensing International’) covers printing and projecting of hymns, songs and lyrics for congregational singing for around 200,000 items 
 Projecting on screen  Reproducing words or music (e.g., in Order of Service) Broadcasting live via internet Placing recordings online Other recordings (e.g., CD / MP3) 
Christadelphian Hymn Book These count as copying and should only be done with the copyright owner’s permission. Contact the Christadelphian Office for approval, which is never unreasonably withheld.  Particular care must be given to hymns listed in the Acknowledgements section at the beginning of the Hymn Book – these hymns are subject to external / commercial copyright. Use of hymns in a church service (an act of worship) involves a congregation and is limited to one building. If the service is broadcast, streamed or recorded a licence is required.  A copyright licence is required.  
Other hymns Similar rules apply here to the Christadelphian Hymn Book. Obtain the necessary permission from the publisher of the book or the copyright holder directly if specifically listed. As above As above 


Would you like some further clarification for specific usage of potentially copyrighted materials? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your situation using the button below. Our editors have extensive copyright knowledge and often provide free advice for ecclesia’s or individuals planning public addresses. We are friendly and happy to help.


It is always best to check copyright rules for the particular version being quoted as there are differences. It is good practice to show copyright permissions at the end of presentations or somewhere in the item being produced.  

Here are the rules for some of the more popular versions of the Bible. 

  1. King James / Authorised Version: This translation is in the public domain, except in the UK where the copyright belongs to the Crown and is administered by the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press. Permission for liturgical or non-commercial educational use up to maximum of 500 verses (or less than a full Bible book) is not required. 
  2. English Standard Version (ESV)The ESV text may be quoted (in written, visual, or electronic form) up to and inclusive of 1,000 verses without express written permission of the publisher, providing that the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for 50% or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted. (Notice of copyright must appear on the title page or copyright page of printed works, or in a corresponding location when quoted in other media).
  3. New American Standard Bible (NASB)The text of the NASB may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and including 500 verses without express written permission of The Lockman Foundation, providing the verses do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor do the verses quoted account for more than 25% of the total work in which they are quoted. (Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page of the work).
  4. New King James Version (NKJV)Text from the NKJV may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic, or audio) up to 250 verses without written permission, as long as the text does not make up more than 25of the total text in the work and is not being quoted in commentary or another Biblical reference work. If an entire book of the Bible is being reproduced, regardless of verse count, written permission is required. (Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page of the work). 


  1. Do not assume that pictures and images can be copied from the internet. When making presentations use photos you have taken yourself or from freely available sources. It is the responsibility of the person preparing the presentation to make sure only freely available images are used. (Sites such as Wikipedia show licence status of images)
  2. Images on the internet may be electronically watermarked, and some organisations (e.g. Getty Images) search for illicit use of their images. If it is found that images have been used without permission fees are charged, often of several hundred pounds or more. 
  3. If a presentation contains an image subject to copyright, and the presenter has obtained the necessary permission to use it in a talk, the ecclesia should not assume that permission extends to streaming, broadcasting or recording for subsequent use online.
  4. Iis good practice to show who owns the image and where it came from, even if it is in the public domain. 


  1. These should be regarded as images and are likely to be subject to copyright restrictions. Just because a video is on YouTube does not mean it is copyright free. Permission should be obtained from the holder before using.  


The Christadelphian Office is pleased to offer a variety of different services to ecclesias and organisations throughout our community. These include graphic design, web design & development, charity-registration services and much more. Browse our website or get in contact with us to find out more.