by Curt Taipale
I was reading some of the conversations tonight in the online church tech forums, and a valid question was posed about Christian Copyright Licensing International. The original poster had not heard of the resource before, and was asking for advice -- was such a service needed, was this company legit, and so on.
Within moments over twenty responses flooded that forum, several from people with experience using their services, all with highly positive remarks. And in fact CCLI is a great company. I’ve met the folks who started it. Been to their home in Oregon. They are the real deal with the right spirit managing a God-inspired business idea.
I got a little frustrated reading some of the responses. While some offered wise counsel based on firsthand experience, many (most?) were purely opinion with no basis in fact or, in this case, knowledge of copyright law.
So I prepared the following response:
May I remind the well-meaning contributors to this thread that: (1) No one here is a copyright attorney, so any advice should not be taken as "law" (even though much of the counsel has been right on the mark), and more notably (2) CCLI has a great website with answers to every question one could imagine on the topic. (http://www.ccli.com)
While the topic is important to discuss, and the OP asks a great question, the best "source" for the most accurate and complete answers should come from CCLI directly.
Note also that Christian Copyright Solutions offers a similar service. Go to their website and you can download their Church Copyright Guide. (http://www.christiancopyrightsolutions.com)
The thread reminded me of advice that I have offered on many occasions, and it bears repeating here.
If you have questions about, for example, a piece of equipment, did you know that you can call the company that made it and ask the question of someone who actually knows the answer?
Seriously, most major manufacturers of AVL equipment employ a full time tech support team and customer service team whose primary job it is to answer the questions of end users (and even consultants and AVL contractors).
For example, do you have a question about:
A Crown power amp? .... go to http://www.crownaudio.com/usa/contact.html
Lectrosonics wireless? .... go to http://www.lectrosonics.com/Support/
Shure microphones? .... go to http://www.shure.com/americas/support
Allen & Heath consoles? .... go to http://www.allen-heath.com/support/
For Aviom .... go to http://www.aviom.com/AviomSupport/
The list goes on ad infinitum. In fact, if you want help navigating to your favorite company, you will find hundreds of links to AVL equipment manufacturers right on our CSC website at the Way Cool Links page.
Bookmark that page! If you're like me, you will find yourself referring to it daily!
Now, I totally get the fact that it's helpful and informative to ask people in online forums for their experience and heartfelt opinions about certain gear. But the phrase caveat emptor is important to remember here. Because what you don't know is whether the person offering that advice has even the first clue about what they're talking about, or if they are just parroting something they heard a friend of a friend say or, worse yet, read in an online forum.