[hackerspaces] Classes and Liability

Mark Janssen dreamingforward at gmail.com
Fri Dec 20 19:23:56 CET 2013

> At our space we've been talking about teaching classes, which is something
> we want to encourage, but here's the tough part...
> If I teach a class and charge money for it, I've been told that I will be
> liable if someone decides to sue because I am a "paid" instructor.

You're best bet is to either follow what psychotherapy does when it
takes payment:  make it clear that you can give no guarantees that
your services will have the effect desired (although having clear test
materials will help you) or go with your next suggestion:

> I believe we can get around this by not accepting any money, or by asking
> people to make a donation to the space, but as soon as an individual takes
> any monetary compensation, they are opening themselves up to some legal
> risk.

If it's volunteer donation, there is only the risk of you not
reporting the income.  You can't be held liable for something in which
there is no explicit of implied contract.  At least in the U.S. each
(adult) individual theoretically is responsible for themselves and
"caveat emptor" can be applied (although this has limits and should be
measured against the ideal of the Law).

> (Note: We're based in the United States... land of the litigious!)

Don't buy into that pessimism.  the United States is a gov't "of, by
and for the people" -- the fact that it has degraded from its ideals
is not cause for further disparagement, but better maintenance, even

Tacoma, Washington

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