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The Music Reproduction Licence (MRL) enables churches to photocopy from authorised hymn/song books and other music publications, or printouts of internet downloads.

The MRL is available as a supplement to the Church Copyright Licence (CCL). Copyright permission is required to photocopy from most music publications, even if the copy is used only once. In a publication, copyright usually exists in the typography as well as the creative work (you’ll often find details printed within the first few pages). The MRL is a convenient alternative to seeking permission from the publisher/owner each time you wish to photocopy their work. This means churches are free to photocopy the songs they want to, and ensures that copyright owners are fairly rewarded for the use of their work.

Reproducing Songs Under The MRL

There are two distinct copyrights that come into play when you wish to reproduce a song from a publication;

  1. There is a copyright in the words & music of the song
  2. There is a copyright in the typography of the publication itself


To legally photocopy, scan or share electronically a song from any music publication*, both the song (including words & music) and the music publication must be covered by CCLI licences (Authorised) or in the Public Domain. *Includes hymnbooks (words only and music copies), publisher-made lead sheets & chord-sheets


Is the publication on the MRL Authorised Publication List or in the Public Domain (PD)?

The MRL Authorised Publication List is available here. A music publication becomes PD 25 years after the edition was first published.

YES – Go to step 2

NO – You are not permitted to photocopy, scan or share electronically anything from this publication.


Is the Song Owner on the MRL Authorised Catalogue List or are both the words & music PD?

Publishers usually assign songs to music catalogues. The MRL Authorised Catalogue List is available here.

YES – Go to step 3

NO – You are not permitted to photocopy scan or share this song electronically

 3 You may photocopy, scan and/or share electronically this song from this publication. Please ensure you report each copy made using the Online Reporting account for your church.

What does the MRL cover?

With an MRL you’ll be able to photocopy most songs from authorised music publications including…

…as well as many other publications and downloads from publishers such as Kingsway Music, A & C Black, Kevin Mayhew, Oxford University Press and Stainer & Bell Ltd. Some publications include permission to photocopy in the purchase price. Always check the copyright information printed in the material you use for clarification.


Under the MRL Terms of Agreement it is necessary to report the songs you have reproduced or copied under this licence. We recommend you do this on a weekly basis.

Licensing an Event

The MRL is also available as either an adult or a youth event licence if you only require cover for a limited time, for example an outreach event. Licence fees are based on the average number of people attending the event.

Fair Dealing

Photocopying from music publications is not permissible within the scope of Fair Dealing.

Licence Fees

The annual cost of the MRL is based on the average aggregate attendance at your main service. You’ll need a Church Copyright Licence (CCL) to purchase an MRL. If you have a CCL already, we’ll calculate the fee pro-rata to your existing expiry date. Contact us for details.

Music Reproduction Licence (MRL)
Attendance Category Licence Fee
1 - 14 AH £24.00
15 - 49 A £36.00
50 - 99 B £63.00
100 - 249 C £103.00
250 - 499 D £143.00
500 - 999 E £187.00
1000 - 1499 F £230.00
1500 - 2999 G £284.00
3000 - 4999 H £362.00
5000 - 9999 I £493.00
Terms of Agreement apply.

Further Information

Fact File: Photocopying

This printable PDF covers the copyright implications of photocopying in churches.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about photocopying in church