Thursday, February 24, 2011

How effective is a disclaimer?

First of all, I will like to clarify that I am not a lawyer and this article is solely based on my opinion and research, and I will not be in anyway held liable.

I have unintentionally or intentionally posted a disclaimer. However, does this absolves me from all liabilities or is a disclaimer a pure waste of time? Recent incidents has spur me to do more in depth research.

Disclaimers does not absolves you from all liability in a court of law. Even if you have spent several thousands with a lawyer drafting a legal disclaimer, it too does not mean that you won't be sued. While you have the right to protect yourself, the other party also retain the right to bring you to court.

In that case, why should I have a disclaimer in the first place? While it may not exempt you from all liability, it does help to deter actual lawsuits against you. In addition, disclaimers can help prevent copying and ensure people think twice when posting, especially if your site is a forum or blog. I would think it also offers some form of 'ammunition' in a court of law.

Every country has different rules and guidelines on disclaimers. Lawsuits are usually long and expensive. In my country, it cost about $500/hr just for legal advice! Unless you have the financial capabilities and time, my advice is, on top of having a disclaimer, be transparent and truthful.

In my next post, I will be looking at the type of disclaimers available and create one suitable for my site.