We have several people who participate in selecting songs for worship at our church, and a question has come up regarding copyright and whether it is permissible to change the words of a song that is copyrighted.
One person says they had read one time that it was permissible to change words for use in the local church; that is, it may be done if one isn't publishing or broadcasting the work, but only using the changed words in a local worship service (we do not stream or broadcast music from worship in any way.)
However, in trying to research it, I can only seem to find one reference to this, which indicates that permissible changes include that of changing from 3rd to 2nd person is acceptable (perhaps to change it from being sung about God to being sung to God) and that pronouns may be changed ("I" to "we", "me" to "us") In other words, any other changes to words or of phrases are a violation of copyright.
I'm wondering if anyone has firm knowledge of this issue or can refer me to specific resources that clarify this question, or might clear up the question about use in a local church?
Thank you so much.