Churches are not exempt from copyright laws. We sometimes tend to think that because are a non-profit, it might be ok to bend the rules. It's not! Copyright laws are there to protect the rights of creators of content and to give credit where credit is due. We, especially as the Church, need to make sure we always follow copyright best practices and honor the work of others.
There are many great resources for copyright free images. In our Resources area, under graphics, there are many copyright free image resources available for your use. There are also paid services where you can purchase photos and images for your use.
Text, images, music, videos, etc that you find online are not free game for the taking. Someone put time and effort into making material available for consumption online. However, you cannot simply copy content and paste it on your website. You can quote material and cite the source; or you can simply add a link to the original source for more information. This is a great way to give credit where credit is due and is a best practice for web content.
Onelicense.net: One License makes it easy for worshiping communities to obtain reprint permissions of copyrighted music for congregational use from an impressive list of Member Publishers. Following a three-step process—Download, Create, Report—a church can easily provide worship aids that will help to encourage participation. The reporting process is a fast, easy, and intuitive way to ensure that composers, authors, and publishers are compensated fairly for their work.
us.ccli.com/copyright-license/: covers storing lyrics, printing songs, recording services, making custom arrangements, and more. A CCLI license enables you to enjoy the right to reproduce creative product in many forms; be it digital, print or recorded content available from more than 3,000 publishers and song owners. A CCLI license permits the fair and legal use to copy and distribute content and media—to include within printed bulletins, to share in song (or movie clips), and even to deliver later as recorded or streaming services where applicable.
Copyright Guidelines for Churches:
Copyright Licensing in Music Distribution, Reproduction, and Public Performance by Brian T. Yeh, Legislative Attorney, Congressional Research Service, September 22, 2015
Guide to Copyright and DMCA for Online Publishers / Bloggers by Laura Yates