LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

The "Fair Use" Copyright Law

I've received some questions about the legality of using TV or movie clips during your services. You'll find documents all over the internet on this topic...some will define it narrowly and some will define it liberally. That's why the document I reference is straight from the copyright office of the United States government. It is not biased in either direction, but merely describes Section 107 of the copyright law.

You can read it here. Notice two of the examples listed when you can use a short portion of a show or movie...

  • "Use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied."
  • "Reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson."

Of course, every church will need to decide for itself how it will interpret the law in order to protect the interests of the church. I'm not a copyright expert or attorney.