[hackerspaces] Classes and costs

Christie Dudley christie at hackcounsel.com
Sun Sep 18 00:33:01 CEST 2016

There is a specific legal standard for the difference in charging vs. 
not charging... if you own or rent the space only (NYC Resistors model 
MAY not apply because instructors charge, although there could be 
construed liability there):

If you do not charge, the people who attend classes are a licensee 
(oddly enough) and you are liable if you do not warn or make safe. If 
they are paying to be there they are an invitee (the law never really 
makes complete sense) and you have a responsibility to *inspect for 
hidden hazards*, warn or make safe to avoid liability. Honestly, a sign 
on the wall saying "everything in here could hurt you, use at your own 
risk" or similar (dress it up a bit to make it cute/funny/boastful!) 
should be enough to avoid liability. (But don't leave anything out!) As 
an aside, that's why you see "caution wet floor" signs in supermarkets a 


> Because my space sometimes has gloom and doom people, someone brought 
> up the idea that if you charge for a class, you could be held 
> responsible if someone in the class gets injured. This would be 
> different than if you did *not* charge for a class because there is no 
> (or less?) expectation of responsibility if you are not charging for 
> your services/expertise.
> I think the thought is that a student would try to sue you personally 
> versus the space, and there was a suggestion that individuals who 
> teach should get their own personal insurance that would cover the 
> teaching they do. (The space has its own insurance and 
> waiver/disclaimer forms that everyone signs.)
> I am definitely not a lawyer, but I'd love to hear what others think 
> of that idea. (And yes, I am in the overly-litigious United States.)
> Pete
> On 7/21/16 10:42 AM, Silence Dogood wrote:
>> one side benefit of charging for classes is allowing the class 
>> teachers to profit.  this can be particularly important for space 
>> members who need supplemental income to afford their dues or to get 
>> them by between contracts / gigs / what have you.
>> On Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 6:24 AM, webmind <webmind at puscii.nl 
>> <mailto:webmind at puscii.nl>> wrote:
>>     On 20/07/16 17:48, Chad Elish wrote:
>>     > Here’s a question for everyone,
>>     >
>>     > What do you normally charge for your classes?
>>     > I know its a big cash cow for spaces to make up income.
>>     Hmm, not here. I think most Dutch spaces mostly run on
>>     membership-income.
>>     Both spaces in Amsterdam do not have a set price, LAG generally asks
>>     donation Technologia Incognita mostly the same or people ask
>>     cost-price.
>>     IJHack (a "space" without a space) has been doing workshops to
>>     generate
>>     some income, I think they did twice the cost price to have a
>>     buffer of
>>     components or be able to share kits.
>>     > We’re currently at $40.00 for a learn to solder class which you
>>     take
>>     > home an arduino you soldered together. We recently noticed tech
>>     shop
>>     > charging $99 for soldering a blinking badge together.
>>     Do a lot of spaces elsewhere use workshops/services as a way of
>>     providing basic-income for the space? Do spaces have other models
>>     outside of services or membership to generate base-income?
>>     At LAG we're currently looking at alternative ways of generating
>>     income
>>     for the rent/etc.
>>     Thanks!
>>     webmind
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