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Protected with Purpose: How Churches can Monitor and Protect Creative Works

Learn why you should safeguard your creative works for the church by filing for a copyright.

Creativity is hardwired into our DNA by God himself

Every day, employees of the church are encouraged to exercise their gifts and talents in producing creative and intellectual properties for the edification of the body of Christ, the fulfillment of the Great Commission, contributions to ministry, and professional fields of service. These properties could include writings of music, books, Sunday school lessons, teaching materials, and all other kinds of creative works suitable for publication.

With the rise of the internet, churches are increasingly content creators using social media, blogging, and online videos. Keeping in mind how important the task is that God has given us and the importance of ensuring that the message does not get watered-down or taken out of context, the need for copyright, licensing and enforcement for that content can be necessary.

Why Copyright Registration is Important

Yes, you have the copyright from the moment you create your work. However, that fact means nothing when it comes to enforcing your copyright.

The US copyright system is designed to encourage you to complete the registration process. They do this by giving you added benefits for registering. Those benefits are in the form of statutory damages and attorney's fees.

The other is what we call the, "stop and pay attention" benefit that is the result of attaching the copyright registration certificate to the cease and desist letter that is mailed to the other party. This often resolves the issue immediately as they know that with a registration their client is facing higher penalties, and that there is an actual possibility of you suing. Without that you will likely be ignored.

Tips on how to Monitor your Online Presence

  1. Google Alerts — Google Alerts is a free way to monitor your content and requires little maintenance. You simply need to go to the Google Alerts website, enter your search, and create the alert. Initially you will receive an email from Google Alerts asking you to confirm or cancel the request. Once you confirm the request, you will begin receiving your alerts.

  2. Content ID — Content ID is a popular digital fingerprinting system that allows you to easily identify and manage your copyrighted content on YouTube.

  3. Copyscape — Copyscape is not a free service but a useful way to monitor your website content or blog.

​If your ministry would like to know how to register your works or help navigating this process, please contact

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