Have you received a copyright infringment notice for one of your videos of the Divine Liturgy on YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook?
These online video hosting services use various methods to determine and prevent the illegal use of content on their platform. This is a good thing as it protects content creators from having their creative works stolen and used for others' profit. Even computers (and their programmers) can make mistakes, however, and sometimes can get things wrong. According to YouTube's website:
"Creators should only upload videos that they have made or that they're authorized to use. That means they should not upload videos they didn't make, or use content in their videos that someone else owns the copyright to, such as music tracks, snippets of copyrighted programs, or videos made by other users, without necessary authorizations."
This holds true for all content, even with live streams of Greek Orthodox church services. We have heard of reports over the years of parishes who are blocked by YouTube because they chose to ignore copyright claims for audio identified in their uploaded videos. We strongly recommend you take these claims seriously even if you feel you are not in violation of copyright infringement.
Below is a sample letter you can use to dispute any claims. Thank you to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Raleigh, NC for providing us with this example. You are welcome to edit it to fit your exact needs.
Dear YouTube support team,
I am writing to dispute a copyright flag on a recently streamed live video on our channel.
The content of this video is of a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy, a worship service that has used a standardized collection of hymns for hundreds of years. The music is not from a recording but a live choir or individuals singing these hymns in our church during our worship services. The composer of many of these hymns may not even be known at this time. Arrangements of many of these liturgical hymns is done for liturgical purposes, and we are adhering to their proper usage in our services.
It is NOT monetized and take the position that it is PUBLIC DOMAIN.
There are numerous hymns such as this that may have an arrangement as such copyrighted but the melody and text are written by monks and fathers of the our church dating back before 1000 AD. The melodies and the words are consistent since then and any attempt to copyright the basic hymn or text is not founded.
We, therefore, formally dispute the repeated copyright claims identified by your algorithm during our services.
Please contact me at _____ if you wish to discuss this matter further. Thank you.