In simple terms, a disclaimer is a statement that denies responsibility with the intention of avoiding legal liability arising from specific acts or omissions.
Website disclaimers (and other disclaimers) are drafted for businesses or individuals to avoid the liability from lawsuits by users, visitors and customers. Disclaimers can also limit a business or individual’s liability to the sum of money that was collected from customers for the goods and services they offer.
If you have a website or blog where users can post comments and or upload content, disclaimers are one of the most valuable tools you can use to protect you from legal action because of comments or content posted by your users.
The laws that govern disclaimers vary from state-to-state and can be inconsistent, and they cannot protect you 100% of the time. However, website disclaimers can be very effective in protecting you if drafted and displayed properly on your website.
Negligence and Fraud
Disclaimers will not protect you from gross negligence or fraud, nor can you try to disclaim every imaginable possibility that might happen. These tactics have been tried before and never hold up in court.
What’s in a Website Disclaimer?
The success and importance of a website disclaimer depend, to a large extent, on how well it’s drafted and presented. The specific disclaimer you should be using depends on the type of website or blog you have. A standard website disclaimer would likely contain some of the following language by itself or incorporated into a larger paragraph:
• The information contained in this website does not constitute not legal advice, but is for informational purposes only.
• That no guarantee is made about the accuracy or validity of any information on this website.
• The website owner is not legally liable for omissions, errors, damages or losses, because of the information or use of the information from the website.
• That no professional relationship is created between the user and the website owner.
• That information on the website is copyrighted, and authorization is required to distribute or reproduce it.
• The information on this website is offered “as is” without warranty of any kind.
• The information on this website is subject to change at any time with or without notice.
The truncated language above is used for sample purposes only; please do not use it as is for any purpose. See our attorney-drafted website disclaimer if you are looking the proper legal language for business or personal use.
• Content disclaimer
• Errors and correction’s disclaimer
• Legal and advice disclaimer
• Advertiser disclaimer
• Merchant disclaimer
• Warranty disclaimer
• Liability disclaimer
What does clear and conspicuous mean?
Well, as usual, the law is a bit vague about the definition. However, what is clear is this; what are the chances of a visitor to your website actually seeing your disclaimers? Clearly, one could argue exactly what that is. When referring to past court cases it becomes clear that anything below the fold of a website page where a user has to scroll down becomes far less likely to qualify as clear and conspicuous. Furthermore, posting disclaimers in a smaller font in the footer of your website will be of little value.
So where and how should I post disclaimers to protect me?
Website disclaimers that fall under the “Clear and Conspicuous” guidelines should be posted such that a user or customer will see them before they use or buy products or services from you.
Some Examples of Website Disclaimers would include: