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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

If This Blog Post Is Received In Error…

Some organisations seem to love email so much, they want to send lots more of it by adding huge legal disclaimers to the end of every message. It surely can’t be because they genuinely believe that footers grant them legal protection because, as The Economist points out:

Lawyers and experts on internet policy say no court case has ever turned on the presence or absence of such an automatic e-mail footer in America, the most litigious of rich countries.

Many disclaimers are, in effect, seeking to impose a contractual obligation unilaterally, and thus are probably unenforceable. This is clear in Europe, where a directive from the European Commission tells the courts to strike out any unreasonable contractual obligation on a consumer if he has not freely negotiated it.

So don’t go along with meaningless arse-covering, question and challenge email disclaimer footers to help stamp them out.


I can't stand excessively long email signatures that spout all that legal BS, we do work for an insurance company and after the legal blurb, normal signature and the classic "Please consider the environment" crap the signature is twice the length of the original email sent!

The information contained in this electronic correspondence and any files transmitted with it is intended for the addressee only and may contain confidential and/or privileged information. If you are not the addressee please delete this message and notify the sender; you should not copy or distribute this message or disclose its contents to anyone.

(Couldn't resist!)

James Harland, 15th Apr, 12:01pm

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