Monday, April 13, 2009


Here's another common question asked-- if my church is licensed with CVLI, why would I need to buy a license to show "The Imposter?"

First, let's look at some history. In the mid-80's, contemporary worship music began to take off. Hosanna Integrity's cassette of the month was hot. Churches starving for contemporary worship were finally finding great music and songs to satiate their worship services. Well, we could argue the issue of using Twila's latest in your church service without sending her any money... but in the US, this violated copyright law. And sure enough, some artists (not Twila) did in fact sue some churches. Besides, as puts it: "The Gospel is free, but delivering it often requires finances."

What happened was the creation of the CCLI... a group that churches can pay money to and then they can distribute that money to the artists who's songs are being used by those churches. With music, it's fairly cut and dry. Most songs are roughly the same length.

Then recently, video started happening. Short videos to spice up a sermon. Voila, same problem. So CCLI created it's sister, CVLI. Now, churches can send money to CVLI and be protected by copyright to exhibit all sorts of videos and movies.

But that's kind of misleading. Both on music and video. A license with CCLI or CVLI covers usage of music and videos of artists that are signed up with them on the other side. If the guys at Sherwood Baptist with Facing The Giants aren't going through CVLI, then a church with a CVLI license only cannot legally exhibit their movie. Now the church can sit back and say "we pay, so we get to play." But zero, nada, nothing is paid to FTG from CVLI.

Then you might wonder, well why don't all these video and movie guys just sign up with CVLI? Here's where the difference with CCLI is-- whereas a song is 3.5 minutes, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus, bridge, chorus. A video is as long as a piece of string. One minute. One hundred minutes. Licensing becomes a redtape nightmare. How much does CVLI diesignate in royalties to somebody's one minute video compared to someone 100 minute video? What if you only played one minute of a 100 minute video? It's messy.

So what about "The Imposter?" Well, for one thing, the whole CVLI discussion is moot. You see, CVLI licensing covers the use of a HOME DVD for a public exhibition. "The Imposter" does not have a HOME DVD out yet. So regardless, "The Imposter" is not covered under a CVLI license. The only way is to get a license at . And when you do, you're supporting Christian filmmakers.

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