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In April 2015 CCLI introduced a new Online Reporting website for its UK and Ireland customers, replacing the old CopyReport4 system. You should have received information about Online Reporting when you renewed. Now all reporting should be done online.

As with any significant change, some love it whilst others have found it challenging. The overall response and the number of customers reporting online to date is very encouraging.

We have been closely monitoring customer comments about the new system and there are clearly some common themes. This article is intended to provide a general response to some of this customer feedback, which we hope you will find helpful.

Why can’t I search by songbook anymore?

This is the most frequently asked question. CopyReport4 provided the ability for users to search for songs by finding the songbook first, a feature not currently available online. We recognise that this search tool increases reporting accuracy (good for CCLI) and decreases search-time (good for customers). Unfortunately, it was simply not possible to include it on the Online Reporting website from the outset, however, we are working hard to reinstate this feature as soon as we can.

Song Titles vs First Lines

When it comes to looking for a song, you can search by entering the song title into the search box on the Online Reporting homepage. However, a number of customers have come unstuck here because an assumption is often made that the first line of a song is also its title. Sometimes it is, but often it isn’t. For example, if you’re looking for You’re The Word Of God The Father the search will return the song’s actual title Across The Lands as the top entry in your search results.

There are several popular song titles that do not match the first line of the lyrics. Surprisingly, even Stuart Townend’s The Lord’s My Shepherd often causes confusion because a search correctly returns Psalm 23 as the top result. Suffice to say you can search the Online Reporting site using first lines, but the site will display the song’s official title in the results.

Unfortunately, CCLI is obliged to register a song using the title provided by the song’s publisher, even when publishers themselves tend to order songs in their hymnbooks by first lines. If the top result(s) are not what you expected, clicking the i symbol next to the song title should provide all the additional information you need to confirm if you have found the song you’re searching for.

Search using song lyrics

Other search options include the author/writer, the catalogue name or the CCLI song number if you happen to know it. In the vast majority of cases you can also search for a song by entering any portion of the song’s lyrics. So, if the words “Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne” are going round your mind but the title eludes you, you can search using these lyrics. In fact ,the fewer and more uncommon the words, the better the chances of the right result. Thus, a search for the word ‘faultless’ will correctly return Cornerstone at the top of the search results.

The song isn’t in OLR!

If you’ve exhausted all the search options to no avail, you might conclude that the song you want is simply not on the Online Reporting website. Whilst CCLI’s licences cover the vast majority of the songs churches reproduce, there are some notable exceptions.

We call these unauthorised songs – i.e. they are not authorised to be reproduced under our licences. For example, even though it has been issued in a digital format, many of the songs in the popular hymnal Singing The Faith are not covered by CCLI licences. You can see a list of the most popular unauthorised songs here.

It is not necessary to inform CCLI if you reproduce unauthorised songs so the Online Reporting site doesn’t include them. Remember, you do still require permission before you can legally reproduce an unauthorised song. In most cases, you will need to contact the copyright owner/publisher for direct permission.

The song appears too many times in OLR!

Another area causing confusion is when the same song title appears multiple times in search results. This happens for two reasons.

First, and most obvious, is that some completely different songs share the same title. Matt Redman’s Light Of The World is a completely different song from Michael Card’s Light Of The World, or John Wesley’s etc. Incidentally, Tim Hughes’ song that begins with the lyric ‘Light of the world’ is actually called Here I Am To Worship (see Song Titles vs First Lines above). Be careful to check the author name and copyright line of such songs to ensure you report against the right one.

Possibly the most challenging case of ‘multiple results for one song title’ is Be Thou My Vision. You will find several pages of results and many of them relate to variations of the same hymn. The original hymn lyrics are a translation by Mary Byrne, revised by Eleanor Henrietta Hull. These words are now PD, as is the usual hymn tune Slane. You will find this PD version comes top of the list of search results.


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Above: Reporting the right version of Be Thou My Vision can mean checking the song’s details as there are so many variations.


However, there are many newer arrangements or adaptations of this hymn that are in copyright. Consequently, you may see the original author names in the copyright lines of other versions making it difficult to know which version you need to report. Our best advice here is to start with those songs which OLR has flagged as ‘Best Match’, and then carefully check the author and copyright line to ensure you have found the correct song.

Other complications can arise if hymn words are set to multiple hymn tunes. In these cases you will need to identify the correct music author and check the copyright line to ensure you’ve found the right song.

How do we report projection?

There are two types of projection commonly occurring in churches and they each need to be reported differently.

If you use a computer-based projection system you should report under the Digital fixation each time song lyrics are projected because this recognises that you have stored/retrieved a digital copy of the lyrics within a computer database.

If you use transparencies with an Overhead Projector (OHP), then you should report under the Print fixation, but only when you first make (hand-write or print) a new OHP acetate/transparency, not each time the acetate is used during services.

Don’t forget PPL and CLA reporting

Don’t forget that if your church has either the PPL Church Licence or CLA Church Licence a report is required for these licences too.

PPL reporting is simply a summary of recorded music played during church activities which you only need to complete once towards the end of your licence period.

For the CLA Church Licence you simply write in the details of each non-music publication that has been photocopied. We recommend doing this on a regular basis, ideally whenever you make the copies. If several people use the photocopier you may find it helpful to keep a book next to the photocopier for them to log what they’ve copied, before periodically entering this information into the Online Reporting site.

Reporting for both these licences is accessed by clicking the Menu icon at the top right hand corner of the Online Reporting home page.


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Above: The CLA Church Licence reporting page


CCLI recognises that reporting can be a challenge, especially at first. We’re grateful for the time invested by church volunteers to undertake this important task. The data provided by churches enables us to accurately calculate the royalties due to songwriters and publishers, which is why reporting what your church reproduces is a condition of the licence.

CCLI will continue to develop Online Reporting with a view to improving and simplifying the process where possible, but meanwhile please continue to provide feedback. We can’t always respond in the way you wish, but when common themes come to the fore we will do our best to address them.

To help customers find their way around Online Reporting we have also produced a series of Online Reporting Video Help-Guides.  If you need help with any aspect of online reporting please get in touch with our Customer Service team on 01323 436100.


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For more information about why Online Reporting was introduced, read our Copyright Q&A Reporting in a Digital World.