Hosting a public LAN Party; What legal issues should I be aware of?
November 28, 2009 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Hosting a public LAN Party; What legal issues should I be aware of?

Hi MeFi,

Myself and friends have been hosting private LAN parties for the past 3 years and with 20 or so atendees we've outgrown our normal venue.

What do we need to be aware of when hiring out a new venue with regard to public liability, insurance and the legality of sleeping overnight in the (public) venue?

I've done some research into other LAN parties, most of which have both rules and legal waivers, and some with insurance.

We hope it to be a successful event, but before we start approaching prospective venues we want to have an idea of the legal implications.

This is for a 48 hour UK based LAN on the south coast with hopefully 30+ attendees, and we'll be charging for entry to cover our costs.

Any information is greatly appreciated,

Many thanks!
posted by ilumos to Computers & Internet (1 answer total)
Something to know about renting out commercial space: you're going to have to sign a contract, and a condition of that contract is almost certainly going to be carrying quite a bit of insurance. In the US, $1 million liability limits are a pretty common basic requirement just for getting in the door.

If you're doing this as a one-off thing, this is going to be a problem. Commercial insurance is neither terribly cheap nor designed for single events like this. My company writes policies for up to three years at a stretch. Getting this thing insured is going to be a pretty big pain in the ass, and you may find it difficult to get your homeowners' carrier to include it under your personal coverage.

My suggestion? Consider a hotel. Most of them will have a conference room space which you can use for a pretty nominal charge. A number of them will probably be cool with you using the facility overnight too. They're also a lot less likely to be insistent upon insurance for your group, as many if not most of their groups don't have insurance. Finally, they're pretty cheap as far as it goes. This is a guess, as I don't know much about the market where you are, but around here if you're paying more than $250 for the weekend its either a huge room or it's catered. The UK is almost certainly pricier than northwest Indiana, but I'd be shocked if you had to spend more than $500.

If you go that route, you should draft some kind of waiver for your people to sign, agreeing that they won't sue the hotel for anything that you screw up. That should help you out a bit.

IAAL, but not in the UK.
posted by valkyryn at 12:25 PM on December 7, 2009

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