This webpage gives information about ILDA's power and limits with regard to "certifying" Members or promising any level of professionalism from Members. For related discussion, you may want to see our Membership FAQ.
Since it was founded in 1986, ILDA has been a trade association. This means it is a group of companies and individuals, who have a common interest -- laser shows and displays. The Members have banded together for some commonly shared activities and benefits. A list is here.
Professional associations are for individual person — doctors, lawyers, architects and others — who have passed tests or otherwise proven their knowledge in an area. Some of these associations actually create and administer the tests; other associations are for those who have already passed the tests.
However, there are no accreditation tests for laserists. Anyone can start a laser company and do laser shows. (Of course, they should follow government laws and regulations. But this does not say anything about the quality or expertise of the company.)
To be a Member of ILDA, there are four main requirements:
Some people ask why ILDA can't further restrict membership. They think ILDA should be like a private club or a fraternal association with pre-screened members.
The short answer is that it is illegal for a trade association to allow existing members to approve prospective members. Otherwise, a trade association's members could keep out competitors. Such "blackballing" violates anti-competitive (antitrust) laws. These laws are strongest in the U.S., where ILDA is incorporated. However, they also exist in other areas such as the U.K. and the European Union:
For example, the U.K. Office of Fair Trading and the E.U. Treaty of Rome Article 81 state:
"Rules of admission as a member of an association of undertakings should be transparent, proportionate, non-discriminatory and based on objective standards." Also, "Discriminative membership rules—which restrict access to the association or prohibit member companies' association in alternative organizations, or restrict members from terminating their membership—may lead to competition concerns, because membership in a trade association may be essential for a company to compete on a specific market. International trade associations must be aware that the European Commission can fine them up to 100 percent of the total turnover generated by the association in the previous financial year for a breach of competition law."
ILDA runs a program, ILDA Accredited Professional Lasershow Company, where companies submit documentation about their experience and knowledge. If they meet minimum requirements, ILDA then accredits them as an "ILDA Professional" company.
This is separate from Membership, since an ILDA Pro company does not necessarily have to be an ILDA Member.
What all this means is that ILDA is a trade association of independent companies interested in laser shows and displays. ILDA does not pre-screen companies. ILDA cannot promise or prove that its Members have a certain level of knowledge. (We do promise and can prove that ILDA Professional companies do have a certain level of knowledge and experience.)
ILDA can promise that if there is a problem with a Member, and a complaint is filed with the Ethics Committee, then we will try to resolve the problem. This alone is a good reason to choose an ILDA Member over a non-Member.
However, we do not supervise Members' shows or equipment. We believe our Members all have a basic knowledge of important safety concepts, but ILDA cannot say for certain that a Member's show is safe or meets all legal requirements. We cannot guarantee the quality of any given Member.
Potential clients seeking additional reassurance should consider hiring ILDA Accredited Professional Lasershow Companies, who have documented experience and knowledge. A list of ILDA Pro companies is here.
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Other ILDA websites: ILDAmember.com for membership database and event management (including joining ILDA), and LasershowSafety.info for safety information.
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