If you are creating web pages for your own site or as a volunteer for a church web site and the site does not generate income, that is non-commercial use. Use in web pages for which you are paid are commecial use, even though you are not selling the music. This is because its use adds value to a product or service that you are selling.
Copying of the entire collection to another site requires prior permission and agreement to maintain the site. This is to prevent the creation of competing sites that obscure rather than add to the body of Christian music available on the web. I present as an example the following:
I discovered in search of dmoz.org for the word "hymn" a church web page composed entirely of my MIDI files and pages with all copyright notices removed. This appeared in the search results while my site did not. The page was not being maintained and no longer contained all the music that a simple link to the Ames Hymn Collection would have provided. As a result, this restricted dmoz.org users to a subset of my hymns. In addition, the removal of copyright notices exposed dmoz.org users to the consequences of unintentional infringement. The church did promptly remove my material after I asked them to do so.
Nothing in The Ames Hymn Collection is in the public domain. All the files are my own creations made from public domain hymnals, sheet music, or are my original compositions or arrangements. However, to the best of my knowledge there are no other copyrights subsisting other than my own. I place copyright notices on all pages to protect users from unintentional infringement. Under the current U.S. law, the copyrights exist for 95 years after my death, which means that I will control them for a much shorter time than others will. Since I can't guarantee the future, I do what I can to allow users acting in good faith to avoid unintentional infringement.
I believe that scanned images of a public domain hymnal are public domain, based on their existence in the Library of Congress online archives. I have made scanned images of one hymnal, The Sisters of Notre Dame Sunday School Hymn Book, 1917, available at St. Patrick Parish. I would make more available if someone is willing to bear the expense.
If we select an author's hymn for singing, we should respect that author enough not to put words they didn't say into their mouth. If the words are too troublesome to use as-is and you must change them, please put your own name on the result as shown.
The Church's One Foundation, Text: I. Know Better, based on Samuel J. Stone, Music: Samuel S. Wesley.
Contemporary hymns are protected by copyrights that provide the income that the hymn-writers need to survive. None of them that I have met seemed to enjoy the riches of a rock-star or a baseball player so I feel that infringing on their copyrights is like taking food out of their children's mouths. Please don't infringe on their copyrights.
accesses. Updated 8/17/2003
This page copyright © 2003 Brian M. Ames All rights reserved..