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The Copyright Blues

How to make sure your church isn't in the wrong when it comes to copyright

"Chris, would you come in here please?" There was a tone in her senior pastor's voice that made Chris a little nervous. She walked down the hall and opened the door to Pastor Bill's office. The pastor sat in a chair across from his desk; with him was a well-dressed, middle-aged man. Neither of them looked very happy to see her.

"Have a seat, Chris," Pastor Bill said as she tentatively walked into the room. "This is John Hendricks." The man nodded. "He's a professional photographer—he owns Starbright Studio over on Grant Avenue," the pastor continued. "He's here because we have a bit of a problem."

Pastor Bill looked Chris directly in the eyes as he went on. "John makes his living by selling the pictures that he takes. One of the ladies who works in his studio visited here last week, and she noticed that we had a number of his pictures in one of our presentations. Part of her job is to grant usage rights, and she was pretty sure that we never asked to use the photos, so she called ...

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