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  • Writer's pictureLaura Merritt

Key legal issues associations should consider when it comes to Generative AI


Because generative artificial intelligence (AI) is new to most of us, knowing all the benefits and risks can be challenging. We addressed some of these in the first part of this series, What You Should Know about Generative AI. Of the risks, legal issues can be among the most detrimental (and most costly).


All associations should consider the legal ramifications of implementing AI technology as they contemplate how it might affect their members, other volunteers and staff in terms of data privacy, intellectual property, insurance, discrimination and tort liability. ASAE offers associations five legal issues to consider when using generative AI.

  • Data privacy. One of the primary legal issues associated with the use of AI by associations is data privacy. AI systems rely on vast amounts of data to train and improve their algorithms, and associations must ensure that the data they collect is used in accordance with applicable federal, state, and international privacy laws and regulations. Associations must be transparent with their members about how their data will be collected, used, and protected, and must obtain the necessary member consent to use and share sensitive data.

  • Intellectual property. Intellectual property is a key legal issue that associations must consider when using AI. AI systems can generate new works of authorship, such as software programs, artistic works, articles and white papers. That means associations must ensure that they have the necessary rights and licenses to use and distribute these works, as well as be transparent about who or what created such works.

  • Discrimination. AI systems can inadvertently perpetuate bias and discrimination, particularly if they are trained on data that reflects historic biases or inequalities.

  • Tort liability. Associations must consider the potential tort liability issues that may arise from their use of AI. If an AI system produces inaccurate, negligent, or biased results that harm members or other end users, the association could potentially be held liable for any resulting damages. Associations must therefore ensure that their AI systems are reliable and accurate and that all resulting work product (such as industry or professional standards set by an association) is carefully vetted for accuracy, veracity, completeness, and efficacy.

  • Insurance. Associations need to ensure that they have appropriate insurance coverage in place to protect against potential liability claims in all these areas of legal risk.

With careful planning and attention to these issues, associations can leverage the constantly evolving AI technology to improve their operations, programs and activities, and better serve their members. Contact AOE to learn how we can help you navigate the complexities of generative AI.

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