Just a thought by Fr Stefan

Just a  thought

Today I was at conference with 2300 Catholic Musicians. It was beautiful listening to them sing with the beauty of angels.

The conference is from Sunday to Friday. There are many workshops and talks. One of the talks today was on copyrights and music. The presenter said that it is important to get a copyright before using music because this is how artists make a living.

Here is my thought to you artists out there. This might be a different approach that you might want to take. Don’t be so concerned about your copyright you ought to be happy that people want to use your material and the more they use it the more your name gets out there in the public forum. 

In the days of Napster artists went after those who were stealing their music, but many of these big time artists discovered something interesting, in going after these people they were going after their best fans and their bottom line suffered. These are the people who most want your music so instead of punishing these people many artists decided to reward them by giving them the music and something interesting happened profits went up. Profits always go up when you reward your best fans. This was one of the secrets of lady Gaga, who I can honestly say I don’t know one of her songs, success.

One of the things that many artists realized is you want your name out there and if you are good people will be coming to you. So much of focus on copyright is about short term profit at the expense of long term profit. You might just have a clause that says, “if you use this material just credit the author that all.”

Also one last idea that many big time artists learned is when putting music out don’t charge a fee, if the person wants to pay they can for what they think the song is worth. Most artists have discovered that people are generally honest and will pay more than what you might have asked. Yes many will pay nothing but the song is getting out there and those who pay will cover their loses.

One of the reasons that many great ideas and products come out of certain places, such as silcon valley, is that companies there who compete with each other have found that it is in everyone best interests to do away with clauses in contracts that says things like, “if I go to another company I will not share trade secrets.” We now live in a world where if someone is coming out of college he will have at least seven different jobs in his lifetime. High Tech have learned that the more information that is in the public forum the more everyone is creative and better products are created. If this is becoming truer in the business world why would it best less true in the world of Church Music?


Just a idea for you artists out there who want to make a splash. 


Fr Stefan


2 thoughts on “Just a thought by Fr Stefan”

  1. Father Stefan,

    We met and spoke briefly at the NPM Conference today. I actually shared a mass setting with you. Although I am absolutely curious and eager to hear your impression of the work, I am writing to comment on your “Just a Thought” posting.

    I have attended NPM Conferences for several years now and I will admit that the sessions dealing with copyright practices have not been my most favorite. Nevertheless, I have renewed interest in the practices… and; I have recently researched policies and procedures more aggressively while trying to have my own work “validated” by industry professionals.

    Although, in the midst of it all, I have come to realize that the work I do is not of my own volition. It has been some time now since I accepted the call to music ministry. And, I can honestly say that I have always enjoyed serving in the role of “conduit” for effective liturgy. I submit that neither the music nor the copyrights of my compositions belong to me. For it is not me that creates, but rather, it is all the work of the Holy Spirit. I give myself away!

    Nevertheless, the music industry has a considerable responsibility to an awful lot of people. I am reminded of the biblical passage that alludes to our need to “…render to Caesar…” Also, there are the verses which refer to obeying “…the laws of the land.” You would definitely know more about these scriptures than I do. Therefore, I have resolved myself to the fact that copyrights and licensing practices establish a system (sometimes quite efficient and sometimes not at all) of checks and balances. I believe it’s a lot about us all sustaining accountability. Ultimately, we will all be held accountable for the work we’ve done while passing through this life to the next.

    Thank you for listening.
    S. Logan

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