Earlier this week I reviewed a new Easter Resource by God’s Kids Worship (in case you forgot, I’m giving one away this week too… check here for details) and it prompted a very interesting thought. As a part of the the resource God’s Kids Worship gives you in most of their products, they provide you with a license to burn up to 30 music CD’s to give out to people for rehearsal purposes. I think think that this is great. It provides great value for this resource, but on the other side, it makes the end user very clear what they are and are not allowed to do.

I’ve found that many of us in ministry and kidmin are not usually aware of what the license on most products grant us permission to do and in many cases, a lot of kidmin leaders are technically breaking the law in the ways they use their resources. This happens in many avenues.

Curriculum: Most curriculum have very specific licenses that go along with the physical product you buy. Many licenses state that you cannot make copies of books, pages or other resources, but in order to use them, you have to buy additional books or guides. Many curriculums technically restrict you from saving them and just using it again next year… the license technically grants the user to utilize the curriculum at a specific time. I’ve also seen the license on curriculums that restrict you from selling or loaning curriculum.

Music: It’s the same for music. We often purchase music either apart for a curriculum or with it and rip it or get it into digital form and simply burn multiple CDs or put on a network to be used by multiple computers. Although some songs may allow this kind of use, others do not. Do to otherwise it a violation of copyright.

Videos: Many of us use video curriculum today and many publishers are providing video to load directly onto the presentation computers. However, just because you bough the DVD doesn’t necessarily mean the license grants you permission to play on every campus at the same time.

I’ll be honest, the copyright and license stuff is very frustrating and I think that it takes two to dance. In our ministries, we should probably pay close attention to what is the legal use of the curriculum, music and videos that we buy and stick to it. However, I also think it’s the responsibility for publishers and creators of content to be very clear of what the end user can or cannot do. Several years ago I was buying video based curriculum and we were going to use it at more than one campus. I asked and they sold me extra DVD’s for a few bucks. They had a plan, I just had to ask. I think I would have been frustrated if I’d had to pay the same price for every resource.

So, I think it’s important for us as the end user to not make assumptions about what we can or can’t do. I’ve seen some take the attitude of saying “that’s ridiculous… they’re charging way too much… so I’m just going to make copies.” If you feel that something is overpriced, then don’t purchase it. However, I think that it’s really important for the producers of this content to be very clear on what we can and cannot do with their content and maybe even give us more options as it makes the customer really happy and a loyal customer for a long time.