Most nonprofit legal counsel understand that the organization will be fully liable for any repercussions of content created by the nonprofit’s employees. So, for instance, if staff unwittingly copies news articles from other websites and posts them without permission on the nonprofit's own sites or in the nonprofit’s own publications (and the fair use doctrine does not apply), then the nonprofit may be held liable for copyright infringement. The same may apply in the case of trademark infringement. But what about postings by the nonprofit’s members, donors, supporters, or other members of the public? When can the nonprofit be liable for copyright or trademark infringement, defamation, tortious interference, breach of privacy or publicity rights, trade secret disclosure, or other potential liabilities? Unfortunately for nonprofits, the answer is: Quite often. But fortunately, there are many proactive steps a nonprofit can take to minimize these liability risks. These steps may involve adopting certain policies and following certain procedures; publishing disclosures, disclaimers and other notices; screening (or not screening or editing) content; taking advantages of protections offered by federal law such as the DMCA and the CDA; and obtaining licenses, representations and warranties from posters, among others. This Legal Quick Hit – led by two seasoned attorneys from Venable LLP’s nonprofit practice – will address all of this, and more, with an eye toward giving you and your organization the practical advice and tips you need to keep your nonprofit out of legal hot water.
A.J. Zottola, Esq., Partner, Venable LLP
This event is open to ACC members only. Please visit ACC's website if interested in membership.