is the event release form the same as event terms and conditions?
Your Event Release Form is NOT the same as the terms and conditions your participant signed up to before they purchased or registered for your event. Event terms and conditions are more comprehensive and need to be provided before the point of purchase, and agreed to by the participant, to be binding.
Event terms and conditions will cover in detail the things like:
1. What are you offering, and what are you not providing?
Introduce what the event is about and what services you will be providing. This is to help set clear expectations for participants and prevent any disputes from arising as a result of ‘unmet’ expectations.
If you are running a physical event, will you be providing venue or catering? If catering, is it limited to tea and coffee or a full buffet lunch? If you are running an online event, will you be providing preparatory or post event audio or visual materials such as videos or PowerPoint slides?
For example, if you are an online fitness trainer, depending on how you offer your courses, you may want to state that you will be engaging your participants in activities but will not be giving any dietary advice. You may also want to state that it is the participant’s responsibility to have a safe space and the appropriate equipment to hand to carry out any techniques to be demonstrated during the course.
2. payment terms
If you are charging a fee for people to attend your event, then your terms and conditions should include payment terms. Include any payment options you are offering, such as the ability to pay by instalments and what payments methods are available.
For example, you may want to provide the option to participants to pay in full by direct deposit to your nominated bank account before attending the event, rather than by credit card.
3. cancellation or refund policy
Things do not always go as planned. In the middle of 2019 very few people would have predicted that face-to-face conferencing would be put on hold for most of 2020 due to COVID restrictions. Venues do occasionally burn down. Guest presenters do sometimes drop out due to personal reasons. You may end up having to postpone or even worse, cancel your event.
If you don’t want to give refunds, your terms and conditions need to be clear about what you will do if you have to postpone an event. As long as the postponement was outside your control and you remain ready, willing and able to give credit toward a future event, or ensuring a space is available in the next, or one of the next 3 scheduled events, your may not be legally obliged to give a refund.
But what if your participants are the ones that want to cancel or withdraw from your event?
You should set out clearly in what circumstances you participants’ cancellation would be a ‘valid’ cancellation, which would entitle them to a refund. Factors for you to consider include the reason for their cancellation (eg. change of mind, medical reasons) and how long before the event they notify you of their intention to cancel. You should also specify in what circumstances a refund will be made in full, when it will be made in part and whether an administration fee will be deducted.
Having a clear cancellation policy can deter participants from simply changing their mind about attending.
When you make a statement to the effect that you are not responsible for something, then you are making a disclaimer. Its purpose, of course, is also to protect you from potential disputes or legal issues.
If you do not want your participants to be under the impression that all information you provide will be accurate and therefore safe to rely on, then you need to say that. If expect your participants to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing at your event, then that needs to be spelt out.
5. limitation of liability and indemnity
The last thing you want is to have someone bring a legal action against you for a loss they claim to have suffered by attending your event. A limitation of liability and indemnity clause is to protect you from being held responsible for losses or damages that were not caused as a result of your negligence.
6. intellectual property
The materials that you make available to your participants are likely to be your intellectual property and valuable assets of your business. It is important to correctly identify your intellectual property and draft effective clauses to protect it from being misused or exploited by your participants against your wishes.
7. personal information
If you wish to take photos or videos of your participants during your event and later use that footage to market your business, you will also need your participants’ consent and release, because images can also be personal information.