Escape room legislation in 2018. Short checklist
(time of reading 7 min)
Escape room business is as good as any other business, which means you have to follow the laws and norms of the country where it would be located. The laws in different countries can vary a lot, but the core of the regulations for business remains roughly the same. We provide you with a short checklist how to create your own escape room in terms of legislation.
1. Create a legal entity

Your legal entity could be registered as individual entrepreneurship or as a company, depending on your country business laws. We recommend you to consider consulting a lawyer or using lawyer's support while registering your business.

2. Find yourself an accountant (could be outsource)

You can not run your business without paying taxes and keeping your books intact, so this is absolutely necessary to do. Carefully study your country's taxes legislation – your business being small- or medium-sized is usually eligible for tax deduction for a period of time, if there is some available.

3. Do not forget about insurance of your property

Of course it would be wise to ensure that you will get a compensation if something is broken or destroyed, or any accidents happen, but it in some countries insurance is compulsive. Some countries also provide insurance preference to new business owners.
4. Abide the laws and norms on fire security and health and safety regulations at your location

You should consult the officials responsible for fire safety norms in your district before the construction and/or arrange their visit after the location is ready to host customers to ensure that everything is according to the legislation. It may add some additional expenses to your budget, as you would be forced to buy some fire security items or invest more into the renovation process because it would be needed to abide the fire safety norms.

As for health and safety regulations, you can follow the same pattern, but usually consulting before construction is not necessary because in fact all you have to provide are cleanliness and functioning of your WC zone as well as absence of rats and insects at your location.

Carefully study the laws of your country or state and your competitors' experience. For example, in some states in the USA locking people in a room without their consent is illegal, so the players would to have to sign a document before the start of the game, which allows the operator to do so.

5. Remember that any venue capital reconfiguration usually needs the approval of the authorities and likely the owner

Any significant renovation of the leased property (demolishing walls, creating a new ventilation system etc.) as well as in cases you have such property in your ownership, most likely should be allowed by the authorities. The property's owner consent is needed if you are leasing your location. Please consider the fact that getting such documents can make up to a significant amount of time, resulting in extending the preparation phase of your business.
6. Hiring the staff

Hiring the staff could be divided in two categories: contractors and employees. The former interact with you on a contract basis, both short- and long-term, while employees make up the core of your staff (mostly administrators and operators) with no particular period of work. The difference between these categories is in paperwork, taxes, termination procedures and so on, again depending on your country's legislation in this branch.

Here is a list of things to consider while signing a contract or hiring an employee:

  • Worker's schedule and duties
  • Continuity of work relationship
  • Payment terms and times
  • Termination procedure
  • Insurance (for employees or contractors who work manually)

We will cover this subject more specifically in a dedicated article.
    7. Copyright and intellectual property

    If you are planning to base your escape room game design on popular book or movie, you can face legal consequences, as there is a possibility of violating intellectual property policy of your country. To evade those it is usually enough not to name directly the movie or the book and not to use any of the posters and other trademarks, such as character's names. For example, while creating a magic-themed escape room likely based on Harry Potter's adventures, it would be wise to exclude characters' names and any other possible trademarks (Hogwarts etc.) in any form. Sometimes legal issues can emerge because your escape room uses too many exact details of certain books or movies, so try not to copy too many of those.

    On the other hand, you can definitely use objects of intellectual property, which transferred in the category of public property, i.e. created a long time ago (it varies from country to country). If you can not find out on your own whether the movie or book is safe to base a game design upon, we suggest using legal consulting. We will get back to this issue in a dedicated article.
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