Are Standard Legal Disclaimers at the Bottom of E-Mails Legally Binding?

The automatic legal disclaimers sent out at the bottom of so many e-mails are almost never enforceable. This is true both in the United States and in the European Union, where several judges have ruled that the sender of an e-mail cannot force a contractual relationship on the receiver just by putting in a disclaimer, which is what would have to happen for the disclaimer to be binding. According to The Economist, the reason that many companies insist on including disclaimers is simply because most of their peers do.

More oddities about American law:

  • An outdated North Carolina law imposes a $3 US Dollar (USD) fine on any white goods sold, and in Wisconsin, it is still illegal to serve butter substitutes in prison.

  • Though the legal disclaimers at the bottom of e-mails aren't legally binding, most of the time, electronic signatures are. This isn't a new trend — telegraphed signatures were accepted as legally binding as far back as the mid-1800s.

  • Odd laws aren't limited to the U.S. For instance, a 1307 statute from Britain declared that the head of any dead whale that washed up on British coasts was the property of the King, and the tail belonged to the Queen.
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