The Vicious Virus is neither Virtuous nor Virtual

Alas, today marks the one-year mark since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. March 11 has been designated a National Day of Observance to remember those who have perished under the curse of COVID-19. As vaccinations are rolled out, innocent doves must be like shrewd snakes, and thus we need to yearn for the real vaccinations and not be fascinated with the fakesinations.

As we comply with pandemic protocols such as the 3W’s (wash hands, wear masks, watch our distance), we continue to meet virtually. However, one of the issues that needs to be addressed is the risk of copyright infringement when content is streamed online in virtual meetings and recorded for re-streaming. Bear in mind that churches and Canadian charities are not exempt from the Copyright Act. Refer to Section 29 and Section 32, subsection 2 (3).

For example, videos that show the song lyrics for “sing along” are increasingly common on YouTube. But this does not automagically grant permission to re-use and broadcast in virtual meetings. The Christian Copyright Licensing International recommends that these should only be shown in a worship service or other public setting if the consent of the publisher or copyright owner is granted. A simple avenue to get permission to show videos (song lyrics, movie clips) is through CCLI’s Church Video License. Furthermore, virtual service providers such as YouTube have policies concerning their Terms of Service.

In our Christian community, there is a plethora of rich content available online for use in our ministry. One example is Rightnow MEDIA. Again, we need to proceed with caution when showing the online content in virtual meetings. According to Rightnow MEDIA: “To align with copyright laws, RightNow Media content should not be broadcast over video conferencing applications.” Thus, we cannot merely share-screen the content. So how do we host meetings (small groups, fellowships, classes) to show goodies from Rightnow MEDIA? The good news is that there are two ways:

  1. One approach is for each participant to login to their own RightNow Media account and view the content for themselves directly from their own device.
  2. Another approach is to use the Rightnow MEDIA Groups Feature.


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