4 Examples of Email Disclaimers Your Company Should Use
When you opened your mail this morning you probably had at least five emails from businesses of various sorts. And chances are, if you looked below the signature block of almost all of those emails there was an Email Disclaimer. An Email Disclaimer is exactly what it sounds like, a legal disclaimer added to the bottom of your company’s email signature template that attempts to limit the legal liability of your company or otherwise clarify how your emails should be used in order to limit misuse or misinterpretation.
There are nearly a dozen specific reasons why company’s choose to use Email Disclaimers, but the purpose of this article is to provide a few quick and easy examples of disclaimers that your business can add if the stated goal is something you want to achieve. So without further adieu, let’s look at some of the most common reasons that company’s add Email Disclaimers, and a couple of examples of each…
To Limit Accidental Contract Formation:
US Courts have, at times, been willing to interpret relatively casual email exchanges as the foundation for binding business contracts. So, in order to prevent casual discussions or negotiations over email from being considered a “binding contract”, a simple Email Disclaimer will go a long way…
“For Discussion Purposes Only And Cannot Be Used To Create A Binding Contract.”
“This Email Is Not An Acceptable Offer And Doesn’t Evidence Any Intention By The Sender To Enter Into A Contract.”
To Protect Confidentiality:
Obviously if you’re trying to truly protect confidential business negotiations from being published publicly, the best way is to have the party you’re disclosing them to sign a separate Non-Disclosure Agreement before they receive the confidential information. Absent that, however, a confidentiality disclosure can help dissuade the recipient from publishing sensitive data or encourage an inadvertent recipient to delete it.
This message (including any attachments) may contain confidential, proprietary, privileged and/or private information. The information is intended to be for the use of the individual or entity designated above. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please notify the sender immediately, and delete the message and any attachments. Any disclosure, reproduction, distribution or other use of this message or any attachments by an individual or entity other than the intended recipient is prohibited.
The contents of this email message and any attachments are intended solely for the addressee(s) and may contain confidential and/or privileged information and may be legally protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient of this message or their agent, or if this message has been addressed to you in error, please immediately alert the sender by reply email and then delete this message and any attachments. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, dissemination, copying, or storage of this message or its attachments is strictly prohibited.
To Prevent CAN-SPAM Violations:
If you run a business that relies on any significant volume of emails to be sent, expect that at some point a prospective customer will complain that you are “spamming” them, even if you’re doing so responsibly. The primary US law governing appropriate emailing behavior is called CAN-SPAM. And in addition to requiring you to generally not be abusive or deceptive in the volume or nature of emailing, you’re also required to disclose a valid business mailing address. Again, a well crafted email disclosure can help mitigate concerns (or accusations) that you’re “spamming”.
For newsletters, marketing materials and other mass mailings consider something like…
COMPANY NAME LLC
123 Sample Street Anytown, TX USA 77060
You received this email because you indicated interest online in COMPANY NAME’s products. Click Here to Unsubscribe
And for individual emails sent in the ordinary course of business, consider something like…
COMPANY NAME LLC
123 Sample Street Anytown, TX USA 77060
This email was individually generated by an employee of COMPANY NAME and is not part of a mass marketing campaign.
To Protect Your Copyrights:
If your business has a copyrighted or trademarked logo, slogan, or other intellectual property, it’s important for you to protect that intellectual property against misuse. Misuse can take the form of people using the logo without permission, attempting to pass off your slogan as their own, etc. To limit the instances in which this can happen, consider adding an Email Disclosure that puts email recipients on notice that your materials are copyrighted or trademarked, and provides them with a method of reaching someone in your company that can approve / disapprove of specific uses of your intellectual property.
“Pedlar Dental, Katy’s Cosmetic Dentist”© is a registered trademark of Pedlar Dental PLLC. All Rights Reserved. Email our offices for a Trademark and Copyright Use policy.”
Or very simply…
© Pedlar Dental PLLC 2017
Email Disclosures aren’t the end-all be-all of legal protections. The fact that they consist of one party unilaterally attempting to impose legal terms on the recipient is one of a few reasons that US courts are typically reluctant to enforce them too strongly against email recipients. That said, however, they can be a useful tool for small businesses to attempt to limit their liability and mitigate risk through a relatively simple addition to their company emails.