I really wanted to start this post out with the question…
ARE YOU READY TO BE SUED?
…but I thought that maybe that might scare you off from doing events, so let’s change the question.
Are you PROTECTED from lawsuits or legal issues caused by your event?
Maybe not so much.
Here’s the deal, if you are creating or organizing event, even something such as a local networking event like #LinkedInLocal or Meetups, you need to protect yourself. We live in a crazy world and the last thing you want to do is face a lawsuit over anything. People will sue over the venue, access, content, food, communication and so many other unimaginable things. While most of us would never think to sue, there is a small percentage of humanity that will sue because they feel wronged. There are also instances where people do get injured at events. A good/bad example of this is the Route 91 shooting in 2017 that rocked the event world. There are situations that are completely out of your control.
9.99999999 times out of 10 you will not experience something as awful as a shooting and we all pray it never happens to our clients and their communities.
How do you protect yourself from the unknown legal pitfalls?
- Hire an attorney – Really Expensive
- Hire an Attorney to draft legalese contracts that every single person has to sign – Really Expensive & a little overboard
- Use a Liability Release form (Attorney reviewed or created), that every attendee signs – Less Expensive, Highly Recommended and Standard Operating Procedure in the event space.
I was chatting with friends in other countries and many had no idea how this impacted them. Wherever you are in the world, you will want to reach out to legal counsel and discuss where you’re lacking in protection in your event and business. I have heard horror stories about events going bad and the last thing you want is a lawsuit against you, your family, your team, your business, your speakers, sponsors or anyone else on your team. You want a Release of Liability that has umbrella protection of anything, everything and everyone.
No matter what, I ALWAYS recommend that my clients have their lawyer review their contracts and all release and consent forms for maximum protection.
What about images, audio and photographs of your event?
Do you think that you have rights to use any and all media that you collect automatically?
Not so fast…..
In the US, there are laws in place that protect individuals from having our essence used without consent. Which means that you don’t automatically get to use any media without written consent from your attendees. I am not an attorney, so you need to check with your state/country to understand what the media laws are for not only where you live, but where you actually are holding your event. It’s important to know whether your legal forms for the US will protect you if you plan an event in another country.
Once you have chatted with your attorney, then you can get a Media Consent Form created or have your attorney review one that you have on hand to make sure everything is covered.
I interviewed attorney Sara F. Hawkins about social legal issues and she briefly discusses public and private domain here. This gives you an idea of how murky this all can be. Watch the 3 minute video here.
How do you get your attendees to sign these legal forms that release you from all liability and consent to allow you to use their images and voices in your future media?
In the US, it’s pretty standard and attendees are used to signing forms such as these when attending events.
You can either have them sign a physical copy at the time of Event Registration or if you are using an Event, you can have them sign a digital copy within the Event app. Two things 1) Check with your attorney to make sure a digital copy is equivalent to a hard copy signature. 2) Check with your Event app to make sure they can do a digital release form and how they deliver them to you for your event files.
Where can you get these release forms?
I am SO glad you asked.
You can have your attorney create them for you.
You can download your own copy here and send this over to your attorney to review at a much lower cost.
Mitigate, Minimize, Reduce and Eliminate Your Risk Now. Don’t wait for a problem to arise.
Legal Disclaimer: This blog post is for information purposes and is not intended as legal advice.