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Can I use others' melody?
Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:40 pm
We are a small group of Christian. We wrote some lyrics for praising. We use the melody of some pop music and change the lyrics into ours. We just share these songs among my brothers and sisters and save these songs in our computers. We never make it public to people outside our church. Is it a copyright infringement to do so?
Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 5:38 pm
I think you have been around the forums here long enough that you know the answer. If you use a substantial part of an existing song which is in copyright (as virtually all 'pop' music is going to be) then that would amount to infringement whether it is done for private or public consumption. There is no special exception to copyright for religious use as there is for certain educational purposes.
The music of a song stands alone when it comes to copyright, so it doesn't matter that you have created new words. You really have two options: seek a licence to use the music, or write your own original music to go with your lyrics. If you do seek a licence then the main copyright collection societies have special categories of licence for religious and charitable purposes. I think your best bet is to speak to Christian Copyright Licensing International
in the first instance.