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DISCLAIMER: By sending me email, you agree to the following:

  • I am, by definition, "the intended recipient".
  • All information in the email is mine to do with as I see fit and make such financial profit, political mileage, or good joke as it lends itself to. In particular, I may quote it where I please.
  • I may take the contents as representing the views of your company.
  • This disclaimer overrides any disclaimer or statement of confidentiality that may be included on your message.

{ 13 } Comments

  1. Fernando Miguel | February 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    sorry but I dont agree with 3

  2. Aaron Toponce | February 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    You don't agree with my freedom to judge?

  3. Matt Mossholder | February 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    You should consider putting a version of this in the version string of your SMTP server, so you can claim it is presented with every mail transaction!

  4. Emmanuel | February 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I agree, esp. number 3. If you want something to be confidential, don't put it in an email!

  5. Oli Warner | February 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    It's a nice sentiment Aaron but you can't circumvent existing law with a blog post.

    You might have some fair use/dealing with a document that is sent to you (the email being a document) but you do not have unlimited rights mainly because the document is not yours. Under countries that subscribe to the Berne Convention (most of them) that email is automatically a copyrighted work of its author, regardless of any disclaimer.

    On top of that, your disclaimer does nothing to override any document header (footers disclaimers are a greyer area) you receive in an email mainly because they and their content do not belong to you. If a sender can persuade a judge that you received terms and conditions for a document that you went on to flaunt, you're in trouble.

    And yes, your disclaimer means nothing because you can't (currently) prove that somebody has read it before sending you an email. It might have power if you can ensure that all senders read and agree to it (and that they're legally able to - over 18, etc). If you're desperate, you might want to look at setting up some sort of email quarantine and auto-responder combination that holds incoming email, replies to senders not already in your database in an effort to get them to agree to this before the email can land in your inbox.

    That's an interesting idea but I'd suggest you'd probably never get any automated email and I (for one) would refuse it on the grounds of it being overly broad and slightly brattish.

  6. Martin Owens | February 6, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink


    I was going to email you a great opportunity to invest in a 30% off software Viagra lotto which could have earned you €4,000,000 FOUR MILLION EUROS in undetectables transferred directly to you and your god bless family.

    But now I think I'll refrain and consult my lawyer. 😉

  7. Aoirthoir An Broc, M | February 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I will remind myself never to use Men who use such disclaimers for my projects. If I send an email to someone I have contracted with, I expect the nature of the email to remain confidential. This is especially important in the medical field where HIPPA laws regulate, with good purpose, that a patient's private data remain,you know, private.

  8. Aaron Toponce | February 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Oli Warner- I can set whatever EULA I want. Whether or not it will hold up in o court of law is another thing entirely, but then the same can be said about those stupid disclaimers. Here's some legal analysis of one:

    Here's another analysis of such lame disclaimers:

    In fact, spend some time on Google, and pretty much everyone, including lawyers and judges, agree that these disclaimers are white noise at best. Laws are already in place to protect documents, such as copyright laws. Technology is already in place to provide secure means of transport, such as PGP/GPG. Lastly, YOU are the one sending the mail. If YOU sent the mail to the wrong person, it's YOUR fault, no the recipient. If you send your nuclear bomb plans to the terrorists, and they execute on your plans, YOU will be held responsible for sending the email, not the terrorists for reading it (they'll have other things to worry about).

    Lastly, this is a joke, and if you're taking it for anything other than that, you should probably relax a little. However, with that said, software companies get away with multiple page EULAs, chock full of legal mumbo-jumbo, which no one ever reads, but can be held liable for in a court of law. XKCD made a good argument about it:

  9. Aaron Toponce | February 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Aoirthoir An Broc, M- Then don't send patient info to the wrong person. It's not the recipient who will be responsible for receiving the messag, it will be you for sending it. Also, you brought up the point exactly- laws are already in place to protect people and corporations, such as HIPPA. And it's our responsibility as citizens to understand those laws. Trying to wrap legal mumbo jumbo around your email won't actually do anything for you in a court of law. It just makes you or your corporation look like an idiot.

  10. Aoirthoir An Broc, M | February 7, 2012 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    "If YOU sent the mail to the wrong person, it’s YOUR fault, no the recipient."

    "Then don’t send patient info to the wrong person."

    These are both false arguments. Notice I said:

    "If I send an email to someone I have contracted with, I expect the nature of the email to remain confidential."

    So if I am sending the person I contracted with patient information, I would be sending it to them because they had a need to know. Maybe they are a programmer working remotely under contract and they have signed an NDA, a Privacy Contract and other documents as required by HIPPA laws and they have a need to see a use case with live actual data. Maybe it is an example of a problematic CMS1500 or some other document that gets sent to insurance companies.

    As to the first claim, if YOU sent the email, well that's precisely the point *I* might not have sent the email. Perhaps *I* sent the email to someone under contract that has an agreement to NOT violate privacy but THEY forwarded the email on. You would be surprised how often this happens with the stipulations intact.

    "trying to wrap legal mumbo jumbo around your email won’t actually do anything for you in a court of law."

    Try again. We're not talking about legal mumbo jumbo. In the SPECIFIC case I mentioned, I did not reference some random email sent accidentally to someone not intended (or even maliciously). I specifically referenced someone under contract. That disclaimer is a constant reminder to that person under contract of the IMPORTANCE of keeping that email private. It absolutely has value in protecting the company should the individual ever claim that they thought a specific email wasn't part of his contractual obligation.

  11. Aaron Toponce | February 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    If the email is to remain private, then encryption should be used, not disclaimers. Again, there are laws already in place that protect documents, such as copyright and privacy laws. And there are tools to protect confidential information. Adding reminders to the bottom of your messages, if anything, is weakening your case in a court of law, not strengthening it. See the links I posted above.

  12. Aoirthoir An Broc, M | February 8, 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Sure encryption should be used and other tools. Anything encrypted can be copied and pasted, screenshotted and more. Good luck convincing the Lawyers that this weakens your case.

  13. Aaron Toponce | February 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    That won't be a problem. Unless I break other laws, such as copyrights, a disclaimer on an email doesn't do anything in a court of law. At least after 40 years of emails, it has yet to show its legal weight.

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