Copyright Examples: Music

Each hymn, song or refrain is divided into 2 parts – words and music. They can be held by the  same person or  different people.  

Psalms for All Seasons – 60A – pg. 370-371, O When Will We See Justice Done

Words: Carol Bechtel © 2011 Carol Bechtel, admin. Faith Alive Christian Resources
Music (KINGSFOLD D): English; adapt. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), 1906, P.D.

Reading this credit line:

  • “The words were written by Carol Bechtel, and they were first published and copyrighted by  Carol Bechtel in 2011. The copyright is administered by Faith Alive Christian Resources”.
  •  “The music is a tune named, KINGSFOLD that has an D meter. It is an English tune that  was adapted by Ralph Vaughan Williams who lived from 1872-1958. This adaptation was first  published in the United States in 1906, and it is in the public domain in the United States and  Canada. (if you live outside of the United States and Canada check the copyright term for the  country you live in.)

 Interpreting this credit line:

  • This credit line indicates that the words are copyrighted material and the music (tune) is not. To  reprint or record this hymn you will need to ask permission or have a license to cover the words.  The music is in the public domain and you can use it freely.


  1. My church has a CCLI license. Can I reprint this song in my order of worship? (or make powerpoint slides of the words?) 

Yes.  Your license (either CCLI or covers you for reprinting the words. Be sure to include the correct credit line as well as your license #.

  1. My church has a license. May I copy this music for my choir to use on Sunday? 

Yes. This is not choral music, it is a page from the hymnal.

  1. We do not have any copyright licenses. May I reprint this music for my small group to  sing on Sunday?

You will need to ask permission from the copyright holder. See the Copyright Holder’s Index, pg. 1093.  See the Sample Request Letter below.
In this case, who do will need to ask permission from Faith Alive Christian Resources (who administers the copyright for Carol Bechtel). You should be prepared to pay a fee for copies made of copyrighted material. This fee can differ, there is no standard.


Psalms for All Seasons 51N (pg. 344-345) – God, Be Merciful to Me

Words: Psalter, 1912, alt; P.D.
Music ( Christopher Miner © 1998 Christopher Miner Music; arr Eelco Vos © 2011 Christopher Miner Music

 Interpreting this credit line:

  •  In this case, the words are public domain, but the music is copyrighted. The copyright is held by  Christopher Miner Music, and even though it was newly arranged for Psalms for All Seasons  the  copyright remains with Christopher Minor Music.


  1.  Can I reprint the words on a bulletin or powerpoint?

 Yes. The words are public domain. You do not need permission or a license to print these words.

  1.  Can I reprint the music, or even just the melody?

You will need permission or a license to cover this use. Check your license holder’s website to  find out whether or not it is covered by your copyright license. Comply with their guidelines. If it  is not covered, check the index on page 1093 for contact information.

Psalms for All Seasons 62B (pg. 382-383) – My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone

Words: Psalm 62:1-2, 4-8, 10, 12; Galations 3:13
Music: Aaron Keyes and Stuart Townend © 2007 ThankYou Music, admin. songs/EMI CMG Publishing, excl. UK and Europe, admin. Kingsway Music/

Interpreting this credit line:

  • In many instances in Psalms for All Seasons, the words are taken from scripture. Often the scripture references are noted so that the worshiper will recognize the biblical reference. In most cases, if no other author is noted, the copyright for the song will be the composer.


  1.  Can I reprint the words of this hymn and assume they are public domain?

NO. This hymn is copyrighted by ThankYou Music, administered as is noted in the credit line.  Notice this song is administered differently depending on what part of the world you live in.  Those in the UK and Europe will apply to Kingsway Music for permission if you do not own a  license, and those in N. America will apply to  Songs/EMI CMG Publishing.