Copyright in Catholic Worship

Copyright is a challenging issue for all involved in the preparation and celebration of liturgy. Parishes, schools and all communities are encouraged to adhere to the copyright law so that all artists whose work enhances our liturgical celebrations are acknowledged and receive a just payment for their ministry.


As music plays a big part in worship services, all our parishes and schools have music reproduction licences with copyright agent, LicenSing Online. It is important to note, however, that music is not the only thing subject to copyright. All graphics, photos, others forms of artwork, all poetry and reflections are subject to copyright and therefore require the correct permission, acknowledgement, and fee to be paid as required. All scripture and liturgical texts also must be acknowledged in the way specified by the copyright holder. It is important to note the requirements for all musicians to have original copies of music.


The Diocesan Liturgy Council recommends the following resources to parishes and schools:

The Sorting Liturgical Music Practice Note raises some of the copyright issues associated with using images in prayer and liturgy. This Digital Prayer website lists some websites that contain free images and audio tracks. In keeping with the recommendations made in the Practice Note members of the diocesan community are asked to acknowledge all resources used in prayer and liturgy, even when they are free of copyright and a blanket permission is given. This not only fulfils the moral obligation identified in the Australian Copyright Council document, but also means we are helping each other by sharing our resources.


There is a need to stay on top of copyright developments. It is therefore recommended that communities check the website regularly to see if resources have been updated.