One of the best ways of getting to grips with the functions and applications of disclaimers is to consult a variety of disclaimer examples. Particularly if you plan on publishing any disclaimers personally, consulting approved disclaimer examples beforehand is the way to go.
But what is a disclaimer and where should disclaimers be used? Is it ever advisable to use an automated disclaimer generator, or is it better to learn how to write a disclaimer manually?
While disclaimers exist in a wide variety of forms, their basic purpose is usually the same. Whether it’s an important legal disclaimer or an everyday website/blog disclaimer, its purpose is to deny something and/or deny responsibility for something.
Protecting yourself and your interests from potential legal repercussions means knowing when, where and how to use disclaimers appropriately.
The exact content and coverage of any given disclaimer will usually be 100% unique. However, the vast majority of disclaimers fall within one of the following categories:
• Affiliate Disclaimer
• Copyright Disclaimer
• Fair Use Disclaimer
• Confidentiality Disclaimer (for Emails)
• Warranty Disclaimer
• No Responsibility Disclaimer (Liability Disclaimer)
• Views Expressed Disclaimer
• Investment Disclaimer
• No Guarantee Disclaimer
• Past Performance Disclaimer
While it’s perfectly possible for there to be a degree of overlap between one or more disclaimer types, it is vital to understand how each type of disclaimer works and which meets your requirements. In addition, ensuring the content of the disclaimer is clear, concise and unambiguous is also essential.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of disclaimers in a little more detail:
The FTC (and most good affiliate programs) requires that anyone taking part in an affiliate scheme publishes an acceptable affiliate disclaimer. At its core, an affiliate disclaimer is simply used to inform people that you are taking part in an affiliate program and stand to earn money by doing so.
An affiliate disclaimer will typically indicate that while the information and advice provided by the entity in question is predominantly objective, there may be a degree of bias due to their money-making intent.
Here’s an example of a concise affiliate statement from Amazon to illustrate the content you’re looking for:
Typically the most concise of all disclaimers, a copyright disclaimer – aka a copyright notice – simply lets others know that the material they are accessing belongs to you. A copyright notice will typically include the name of the author, the year of the copyright, the internationally recognized copyright symbol and an indication of reservation of rights.
All such information will usually be presented in a concise ‘bar’ at the bottom of the page, though must be prominent enough to be visible. Here’s an example of a copyright disclaimer:
Anyone who intends to use the work of someone else without their direct permission may need to include a fair use disclaimer, which can prevent legal action being taken against them.
‘Fair use’ refers to the use, citation or incorporation of another author’s work to an extent that doesn’t contribute copyright infringement of plagiarism. For example, the content may have been used by a third party for commentary purposes, teaching, researching, news reporting and so on.
A common example of ‘fair use’ in practice being a movie review that includes clips from the film, or the use of extracts from a copyrighted book during an English language lesson.
Here’s a fair use disclaimer used by several YouTube Channel:
Confidentiality disclaimers are usually part of the signature line in an email, which subsequently ensures that it appears in every email communication. These email disclaimers are used to inform the recipient that the content of the email is confidential in nature and must not be shared in full or in part with anyone else.
In addition, email disclaimers can sometimes be used to warn recipients of potential computer viruses and other security risks, thus limiting the liability of the sender in the case of such scenarios.
A typical confidentiality disclaimer used in an e-mail signature line is as follows (from Fasanara Capital):
As the name suggests, a warranty disclaimer is effectively the opposite of a conventional warranty. Where issued, a warranty disclaimer informs the receiver of the product or service the provider does not offer any promises or guarantees, typically in relation to quality, dissatisfaction and so on.
However, all sellers and service providers are bound by certain national and international rules regarding minimum quality and safety levels for products and services offered. Therefore, a warranty disclaimer cannot be used to sidestep all responsibility on the part of the seller or service provider.
This is how Amazon words their warranty disclaimer:
No Responsibility Disclaimer
Also referred to as a disclaimer of liability, a no responsibility disclaimer offers protection from potential repercussions in a variety of scenarios. In simple terms, to take a position of ‘no responsibility’ is to accept no liability for the consequences that may occur, due to the use of the information or resources provided on your website (as an example).
This kind of disclaimer is used to inform people that if they take any given action, they take full responsibility for the potential consequences. Most websites feature one or more no responsibility disclaimers, as online information and resources can be interpreted and acted upon in an infinite variety of ways.
Here’s the current no responsibility disclaimer from BCS:
Views Expressed Disclaimer
One of the most important disclaimers for use in forums, blogs and other online and offline publications, a ‘views expressed’ disclaimer distances the author or business from the content published.
The disclaimer informs readers that the content published (which may include guest posts, comments, replies, third-party entries etc.) in no way conveys the thoughts, sentiments or intents of the author, the website or the business. This ensures that in the event any questionable or controversial content is published, the author/website is not held liable for the consequences.
Here’s a simple yet effective example of a views expressed disclaimer:
An investment claimant distances the author from any consequences that may arise due to readers’ use or interpretation of the information they provide.
Specifically, it is used to inform the reader that the author is not a qualifiedfinancial adviser, investment specialist, dealer or broker, and that they cannot and will not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information they provide.
As a result, the reader accepts complete liability for the consequences that may arise, due to their use or interpretation of the information published.
A good example of an effective investment disclaimer from SilverBarter:
No Guarantee Disclaimer
One of the simpler disclaimers to understand, a ‘no guarantee’ disclaimer simply informs the reader that the author makes no guarantees regarding the outcome of the use of the material, products or resources available.
Again, this means that irrespective of the outcome, the author or website accepts no liability or responsibility for the consequences. It is implied that the information/content is provided simply for reference purposes, rather than viable or valid advice to be followed.
Wikipedia has a simple yet effective no guarantee disclaimer in place, which reads as follows:
Past Performance Disclaimer
Last up, the ‘past performance’ disclaimer is used to advise readers that future results can in no way be attributed to past performance. Hence, irrespective of the strong and successful past performance of any activity or entity, this doesn’t guarantee similar results in the future.
Past performance disclaimers are used to inform readers that in the event that they make decisions based on past performance alone, they accept full responsibility for the outcome. They are warned that such assumptions are neither advisable nor condoned by the author, therefore should be avoided.
Here’s how Maple Leaf Funds issues its past performance disclaimer: