Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

Copyright licence for celebrants

General Copyright:

The information on copyright and marriage celebrants is being updated. The Marriage Law & Celebrant Section proposes to include the updated information in the revised Guidelines which will be available next year.

In the meantime, there is information about copyright on the Department’s website at

The Australian Copyright Council also has a range of fact sheets which may be useful – see

Matthew O’Brien
Marriage Law and Celebrants Section | Access to Justice Division
Attorney-General’s Department

Copyright Requirements for Celebrants

There is some misinformation in relation to copyright and ceremonies. Weddings, funerals and the like are treated as private events, not commercial events.

However that means any celebrant using copyrighted material (ie anything the celebrant does not write themselves), needs to have permission to use this material, because

  • the celebrant has purchased the material (eg book, CD, video) themselves OR
  • the celebrant has been granted permission personally by the author OR
  • the material is so old it is now in the public domain
  • the celebrant has a CAL Copyright Licence which grant the celebrant permission to use a huge variety of poetry, prose, lyrics and the like. (Note: not music)

Use in a ceremony of poetry, prose or lyrics as prose means by verbal means, not printed.
Use in a ceremony of music or other auditory material by the celebrant means by playing the purchased material, not copies.

Breaking Copyright

Any typing of the material is considered publishing and thus is not covered by the fact the event is a private ceremony.

This means, without a CAL Copyright Licence, the celebrant would be breaking copyright if they

  • Print copyrighted material in a copy of the ceremony to give to the couple or anyone else
  • Print copyrighted material as a handout for a reader to use
  • Typing copyrighted material for storage in their own computer
  • Emailing copyrighted material to  a couple or anyone else
  • Sharing copyrighted material in a celebrant yahoo forum (considered public space)
  • Sharing copyrighted material in a celebrant web-based forum, unless all members of the forum group are CAL Licence holders

Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) Licence for Celebrants

As the result of work by celebrant associations with the  Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) a special group licence was developed just for independent celebrants in Australia.

This Group Licence is substantially less (two-thirds) than the Sole Trader Licence as well as granting permission for computer storage and emailing.

Most CoCA associations offer CAL Copyright Licence options for celebrants.  For CoCA Associations celebrants’ names and payments must be made prior to May each year for the Copyright Licence cover to the following financial year. Pro-rata options are also available from some CoCA associations.

Copyright Insurance – is this the same as a CAL Celebrant Licence?

No. Without a CAL Copyright Licence, paying for such cover is most unlikely to be an effective protection.

Read more under Commonly Asked Questions CAL Celebrants Copyright Licence on this website

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