Licensing and Copyright: How to Not Break the Law

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You shouldn’t have to worry too much about this, especially if you have our Master Package–because we’ll be doing a lot of the design for you, but we thought this was good information that we wanted to get to all of our clients, because it happens way too frequently in churches. Everywhere really.



Whether you’re creating sermon art, composing an email message, writing a blog post, or creating artwork for your website, there are guidelines that have to be followed when it comes to what images you can/can not use. Google Images is NOT good place to find royalty free images. Many of the images you find there are copyrighted, and you could get into legal trouble for using them. Worse, it’s often difficult to tell unless you dig.


What is a creative commons license? There are a whole bunch of different creative commons licenses that different artists use for their artwork. The good news is, this generally means you can use it–but attribution is usually required. This means that wherever you use it, you have to give credit to the original artist. A good example of this can be found in our video at You can find artwork under these licenses on Flickr (go to “advanced search” and check the box that only searches for images under these licenses).


Stock photography websites, which range from super expensive to wicked cheap can also be a good resource, but you’ll have to do some digging to find quality images.



Most churches already know this, but your music on Sunday mornings is usually copyrighted music. Getting a membership (or license) with CCLI is generally the required step. If you don’t yet know what CCLI is, or haven’t heard this, feel free to get in touch and we can help walk through it with you.


Additionally, any time you do a promo video, or some sort of slideshow be mindful of whether or not your music is copyrighted. If you upload these videos to youtube or vimeo, or show them on Sunday morning, you are liable for any potential infringement.



We don’t think so. We want to make sure you are fully informed, because the last thing we want is a church to be maligned due to a simple, honest, avoidable mistake or oversight. We think copyright is one of those potential oversights, and it’s one that’s easy to avoid.


We have worked really hard at Nate Designs Stuff to develop quality relationships with designers, photographers and third party vendors, to assure our clients (you) have high-quality images that are fully legal to use.


And don’t worry, you don’t need to purchase a license to use the Bible.

Nate Smith

Lead Developer and CEO

I am a web developer and designer, as well as a husband and father. I grew up in the Boston, MA area and will forever be a Bostonian. I'm passionate about building sites that look great, are easy to navigate, and that work really well on all devices. The languages I work with most are PHP and MySQL, Javascript, HTML5, and CSS--but I also have experience with Ruby, Linux and ASP. The applications I use on a regular basis are Adobe CC, Sublime Text, and PHPStorm.


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