View Full Version : Public Domain Praise/Worship Songs

03-05-2008, 01:07 PM
Hey guys..
I'm a director of a youth band.
We would like to put together a CD for new kids entering the youth group and stuff, and just for fun...

Do you guys know of any praise and worship songs/hymns that are public domain. Specifically newer ones.

We have some original material, but I'd also like to include some farmilliar stuff. For example, I'll Fly Away and some of the old stuff is public domain and will be safe for the CD.

Any other suggestions??

03-05-2008, 05:56 PM
Joel - Does the church have a CCLI license? If so you can look up the copyrights for many songs on CCLI's SongSelect. Your best bets are to make your own contemporary arrangements to common hymns

Jeff D
03-05-2008, 06:03 PM
Have you tried the developing worship forum


They are mostly people from this forum and they will probably be the best to answer. I don't really know that much about public use stuff. Best of luck in your search. CCLI would probably be your best bet though.

03-05-2008, 06:28 PM
Even if you have a CCLI at church, recording of copyrighted songs are not covered. You still have to go through the same clearances as with any other music.

03-05-2008, 07:06 PM
Do you guys know of any praise and worship songs/hymns that are public domain. Specifically newer ones.

Because of the "creative" interpretation and manipulation of copyright laws in recent years by the publishers and their partners in crime (ASCAP, BMI, SoundExchange, and the like) there will not be any songs entering the public domain for the next 40 years. The only possibility is if a writer specifically puts his songs into the public domain, and that would be very unlikely unless it is also self-published and recorded on a private independent label. Public domain was an integral part of copyright laws, but since the length of copyright term has been effectively made endless, the concept of public domain is pretty well extinct for anything written within the last 30 years ... or more.

There are three categories that are a pretty good rule of thumb for identifying a song that is likely to be in the public domain:

-Works published before 1964 that were not renewed are in the public domain
-Works published before 1978 that have no notice are in the public domain
- Works created over 120 years ago

In other words, good luck. There is always a chance that you could contact the writer and try to get permission to use the song, but if it was published by anything close to a major publishing house, odds of persuading them to give up a penny of potential income are slim and none.

03-07-2008, 10:59 AM
Thanks for the replies guys.
I did a little research. Unfortunately most of the songs I was hoping for we copy written, but some of the very old hymns are not so that's pretty cool.

One of the specifc songs I would like to do was "Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt/Beth Redman. I was able to email a person who directed me to:


There you can check copyrights on many songs and see what kind of available use there is.
Blessed Be Your Name (If I'm understanding what I read), can be used if selling a CD for like 12% the total cost of the CD I'd be selling. But royalties would have to be paid up front. But overall, I think it'd be worth it for a few songs. Especially if I only was printing 100 CD's or something at a time.