Tuesday 6 October 2009

Pet hate #162: quasi-legal email disclaimers

We've all seen it: the seemingly friendly and innocent email that ends with a sudden outburst of quasi-legal rhetoric – a strange and often random mix of disclaimers, requests, threats and proscriptions. I've even seen some disclaimers framed as contractual statements, as though the person receiving the email had entered (without knowing it) into a legal contract with the sender. Other disclaimers offer politically correct threats and assurances ("employees of this company must not use this email for abusive or vilifying or inappropriate purposes blah blah; any opinions expressed are not those of the company or its affiliates, blah").

We've all seen this sort of thing. We all assumed it was just a fad. But the continuing prevalence of such email disclaimers may well be one of the surest signs that the end of Western Civilisation is at hand.

But anyway, after careful legal advice, I realised that I needed my own email disclaimer – so I've gone ahead and composed one. I'll be using this from now on in all my emails, and you're also welcome to use it as a footer to your own emails. It can add an impressive sense of gravitas when you're forwarding YouTube clips or pictures of cats to your friends.


The message that you have just read might possibly be legally privileged and/or confidential and is intended only for the use of those to whom it is intended. We hope and insist that no recipient will ever forward, print, copy, scan, read aloud, film, choreograph, broadcast via radio or other media, podcast, vodcast, tweet, blog, translate into foreign languages, transcribe in crayon, versify in iambic pentameter, or otherwise reproduce this message in any manner that would allow any of the message to be viewed by any individual not originally intended as an intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient, STOP IN THE NAME OF THE LAW. We beseech you in the name of the law: please don't ever copy, forward, disclose, speak of, print, report, joke about, or otherwise use this message or any part of it in any way whatsoever, never ever. If you received this e-mail by mistake, please read this disclaimer IMMEDIATELY, then advise the sender immediately, then delete this message, then empty the trash on your computer, then YOU MUST also use an appropriate software program to permanently erase all traces of the file from your computer's hard drive (and from any other hard drive or portable storage device where the information may be stored). Afterwards, it is strictly prohibited ever to mention, discuss, think of, or remember any of the contents of this message. If you do so, YOU MAY BE LIABLE for litigation or prosecution or indefinite detainment. If you were the intended recipient of this e-mail, you have entered into a BINDING CONTRACT with the sender, allowing you to be imprisoned, interrogated, tortured, exiled, lobotomised, forced to read Dan Brown, deprived of all human rights, and other possible measures that may be introduced from time to time. Thank you.


Bob Almond said...

Brilliant. I would link to this on my own blog, but am fearful of the torture you mention - especially the Dan Brown bit. Is he related to Derren Brown, do you think?

A.J. Smith said...

". . . lobotomised, forced to read Dan Brown. . . ."

Aren't you being a tad redundant?

Josef Bengtson said...

You had me at "iambic pentameter". Excellent stuff!

Scott Kirkland said...

Forced to read Dan Brown, brilliant!

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