Legal disclaimers in email signatures? Why?
Dave, I just joined a new mailing list and am finding it really weird that while most members have the regular 2-3 line email signatures with their name, company, Web site URL, or similar, a few people have these incredibly long signatures that are some sort of legal disclaimer about the advice they give, whether they can be quoted in other venues. etc. What's the story here?
As you clearly know, the recommended netiquette guidelines for email and group posting signatures is four lines, ideally prefaced by a single line with just two dashes, but after years of Internet evolution, lots of people ignore it and do what they want.
Even I'm guilty. Here's my typical signature now:
Intuitive Systems: Online Strategies and Communications
Innovative Business Thinking @ http://www.intuitive.com/blog/
Count the lines and I've exceeded the recommended four. Ah well.
But there are some people who go quite a bit further with their signatures, beyond what folk find acceptable. As it turns out, on one of the groups I'm involved with, there's a discussion about one person's rather long signature, and it's exactly what you're talking about:
This E-mail message is private and confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. All emails sent by me remain my property. You must obtain written permission to forward in part or whole any message, data contained within, MX and other header information. Doing so without my written permission constitutes an agreement between me, you and the party you forwarded the information to pay me a sum of no less than $5000. This is a legally enforceable contract between me, you, and the party to whom you forwarded the information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, copying, reproduction, modification, or publication of this communication is illegal and prohibited by law. Please delete the message from your computer and destroy any copies. This message is not intended to be relied upon by any person without subsequent written confirmation of its contents. The sender therefore disclaims all responsibility and accepts no liability of any kind that may arise from any person acting, or refraining from acting, upon the contents of the message without having had subsequent written confirmation.
If you have received this message in error, please contact me at the following number:
However you slice it, that's a long email signature!
Grayson Walker, of Smith, Walker & Associates has a quite coherent response to queries about the length and content of this email signature, however, and he's allowed me to reproduce it here:
"Several people have expressed concern about the standard disclaimer I have in my company's signature file.
"The disclaimer was written by my attorney. Although it may appear imposing, in layman's terms, it says that I own what I create. It's that simple. As to it's being unenforceable, that is a matter for the courts to decide.
A very interesting perspective on the matter. The exceptionally long signature is still not particularly friendly to others on the list, but the reasoning behind it does make sense, and in our present culture of cheating and plagiarism, I completely understand his perspective.
How about you? Do you have an unusually long signature in your email messages and/or do you dislike other folk with long signatures in their own messages to you?
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I do have a comment, now that you mention it!
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