[LINK] RFI: Email Disclaimers

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Thu Aug 21 17:42:09 EST 2008

During conversations on link and elsewhere some time back, we were 
pretty sus about the effectiveness of email disclaimers.

I've been asked by a correspondent whether anything has changed.

Can anyone point to any guides on the topic?

My memory is that effectiveness depends firstly on whether the person 
is really constrained to see it.

Then of course there's the question as to whether it generates some 
form of right (for the utterer) or responsibility (for the presumed 
utteree).  Is it a term of contract?  A term of a coyright licence? 
A notice that the contents are, or may be, being communicated in 

Simple test-cases:
'Before you print this, think of the trees you're using up' ?
'If this has reached you in error, please let the sender know, and 
please destroy your copy' ?
'Please read the disclaimer below'
'Please read the disclaimer at <URL>'

Any difference depending on whether it's at the top or bottom of the email?

A related question is whether click-wrap on web-sites successfully 
imposes terms on the user.  If not, then any email disclaimer would 
seem to be doomed to have no legal effect?

Thanks for any leads!

I don't use anything on my emails, but do on my web-site, at the 
bottom of my copyright notice, which is pointed to from most of my 

Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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