As associations and societies are providing more and more content and need to be seen as the credible source, what are you doing to ensure your brand is protected? What controls do you have in place to make sure your speakers / presenters are delivering credible content and are not making comments that might harm your association?
2020 saw an exponential rise in webinars and the dissemination of content across a variety of virtual platforms. The focus for many associations in 2020 was:
• What platform do we use?
• How do we effectively market the content and how often?
• Do we monetise the webinars, if so, how much?
As we move into 2021, these questions and trends will continue and as associations navigate their way through the do’s and don’ts of online delivery, it is fundamental that they also ensure they are protecting themselves, their presenters, and their members from any potential conflicts of interest that may arise from the content being presented.
As virtual webinars can now reach a broader audience, and by the very nature of the digital landscape you can’t always control who is listening. In 2020, we witnessed serious situations across our associations with regards to liable content which has unfortunately resulted in legal action. This is a real risk, and we urge all associations to take action in 2021; to protect themselves, their members, presenters and stakeholders.
We strongly recommend that when engaging your presenters, they are issued with some clear guidelines to assist in avoiding any potential defamation allegations and to ensure you are actively protecting your association from reputational risk.
We also recommend that all associations consider a standard disclaimer when attendees register and/or on a holding slide during the presentation. The disclaimer should state that, by their participation in the Webinar, the audience agrees to waive their rights to make claims for damages that could result from the Webinar, that they are not entitled to share the material presented other than with your permission and that they are only entitled to participate, listen to or view the Webinar if they have properly registered for it.
The requirement to register will limit any claim for defamation in that a claimant cannot claim that any defamatory content went beyond the group of registered participants.
In order to assist with this, TAS have commissioned legal advice to help protect our clients from misrepresentation and possible legal action. Has your organisation considered this aspect of delivering virtual events?
If you need any help or further assistance with any of these concepts The Association Specialists has the expertise to guide you through the process.
© Nell Harrison, The Association Specialists 2020