Churches who livestream worship services and other programs still must comply with copyright laws.

That’s the message that Adrej Ajanovic, staff attorney with the PC(USA) Administrative Services Group, and Jeffrey Lawrence, director of Media & Publishing for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, delivered during an August 10, 2021, workshop about the increasing importance of understanding the basics of copyright law especially as churches increasingly offer online or hybrid worship services.

“Streaming is skyrocketing,” Ajanovic said, “and the law is still catching up.”

Ajanovic cautioned participants during an online program coordinated by the Presbyterian Communicators Network that he wasn’t providing legal advice and he is not an intellectual property attorney but he did share a variety of resources, including a document for mid councils and churches that includes a brief exploration of intellectual property law 

The bottom line?  Research anything you wish to use, whether for a worship service or other activity, to determine if the resource is a copyrighted work.  Document your research. Always get written permission before using any copyrighted work.

“Just because you’re a little guy doesn’t mean you’re immune,” Lawrence said, listing three considerations before each use of an image, film or other item that could have copyright implications: Who owns it? Who or what is in it? How do you plan to use it?

These thoughts and other information shared during the program was summarized by Mike Ferguson of the Presbyterian News Service  in an online article.

Click here and scroll down the page to find a recording of the “Copyright Workshop: Making sure your livestream worship service is copyright compliant” on the Presbyterian Communicators Network website.

Additional resources about copyright – and other communication topics like social media, e-newsletters, websites, media relations, and video production – can be found online at and on Facebook at

The network also offers workshops about various topics at no charge to synods, presbyteries and churches for groups of 20 or more participants. Click here to learn more about scheduling a workshop for your organization.