A youth leader’s quick guide to copyright
Complicated? Maybe. Important? Definitely.
As a youth leader, you not only teach the gospel, but model it also. Some aspects of your life and ministry may give mixed signals about your obedience. Breaking the law, whether it be speeding, stealing or copyright infringement is not only sin, but undermines your ministry.
Here's a few tips about keeping the law with respect to copyright:
1. Read up about it. This area of law affects lots of aspects of our life. You may as well take the initiative to be informed. Ignorance is never an excuse. The linked article is a good start about Christians and copyright.
2. Give your iPod and computer a fresh start. Delete all the illegally downloaded stuff.
3. When using software, read the End User Licence Agreement. It's boring and long, but it tells you what you can and can't do with the software.
4. Showing a DVD movie at your youth group event in your church is probably infringement (read that Copyright Notice at the beginning of the movie). You should get permission to show the movie. The linked article tells you how.
5. If you make your own videos or mash-ups, don't use commercial music as a soundtrack. That's probably infringement too. If you must, you need to get permission. Otherwise, make your own soundtrack. There are some cheap loop-based music programs out there that let you do this sort of stuff.
From reading the above, it looks like that copyright law will make your life and ministry difficult. Don't worry, it's worth it. Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it IS always important. The youth and their parents will respect the fact that your group does things the right way, even if its the long way.