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Signature block disclaimers

Ok my legal friends, riddle me this.  On second thought, don’t.  The general answer is a resounding, “It depends”.   In the age of NSA reading everything we send it’s comical to keep applying these old bandwidth stealing min blogs to every email we create.  Blog posts like  Disclaimers makes one point while Wikipedia makes something of another.    So why raise this here and now?  It keeps coming up again and again, that’s why.

This is the preamble to most disclaimers.  While legally privileged and confidential is important, the rest is redundant.

“ATTENTION:
The information contained in this message may be legally privileged and confidential.  It is intended to be read only by the individual or entity to whom it is addressed or by their designee. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are on notice that any distribution of this message, in any form, is strictly prohibited.”

I have often used this one.

“This email message and any attachments are intended only for use by the addressee(s) named above, and may contain legally privileged and/or confidential information. If you are not the intended addressee, my mistake!  You are hereby kindly notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email and any attachments thereto is strictly prohibited and would be looked upon in the most unkindest of terms. If you have received this email in error, kindly delete it from your computer system and notify me at the email address provided for above. I have flying monkeys and I am not afraid to use them.  That you read this, at all, brings me to thank you.”

After thousands of emails sent, I have had three people read this and reply to  this disclaimer.  2 asked me not to release the Monkeys as they complied, the other commented on my friendly closing line.

To be fair.  Some have to reference the IRS and other official bodies because they have compliance issues.  Sadly, this is often applied to emails that have none of the regulated content.

“IRS Circular 230  Disclosure:  To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice in this communication (including attachments) is not intended or written by company to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.”

Of course, I always love this part of most messages:

If you have received this message in error, please immediately notify the sender and/or X company by telephone at (555) 555-1212 and delete or destroy any copy of this message.

I will get right on it.  No one does this anyway and now systems back your emails up without your control.  In fact, the NSA is now the single largest Cloud provider in the world.

So to all the people who ask me about should I or shouldn’t I… the answer is do what makes you feel good and don’t lose any sleep at night, I won’t send the Monkeys.

Reference sites : Stupid email, James Sinclair, Parodies, Fortune,  Slashdot

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