If you are in the habit of publishing information on your website, you may find the need to post a disclaimer to protect yourself from any liabilities that may arise. For example, you may be a particularly adventurous, aspiring chef who publishes food recipes on your blog. In this case, you might want to write a disclaimer, claiming no responsibilities for any culinary mishaps that arise as a result.
Situations may arise where erroneous information being posted on a site may implicate the author. For instance, faulty instructions on how to self-repair a car may invite lawsuits if a reader relies on it to his detriment. Grounds for lawsuits come from tort law, under the tort of negligence. This means that if you negligently provided information, and the receiver suffered injury, property damage, or economic losses, he may be able to sue you. Although rare, some authors prefer to play safe and rely on disclaimers to insure themselves.
What can a disclaimer do:
- First of all, a disclaimer cannot protect the site owner for death or personal injury caused to the reader due to the information posted on the site.
- A disclaimer can protect the owner for other property or economic losses caused to the reader as long as the terms are reasonable. For more information, refer to the Unfair Contract Terms Act.
So what can you include in a disclaimer? Basically, you can include any term that is reasonable:
- The reader relies on the information provided at his own risk.
- The author is not a professional and is not giving professional advice (if applicable).
- The content posted may be invalid over time, or inaccurate due to human error.
- The author is personally responsible, and is not representing any other organisation.
- Any articles posted are personal views, and are not intended to defame.
- The author is not responsible for the comments posted by other readers.
- The issue of copyright and the extent to which users may use the content.
- A limit on payable compensation if the author is found liable.
- The blog is governed by Singapore law, just in case a harmless article about cats offends the laws of a country that hates cats.
In addition, a good disclaimer should have the effect that the reader voluntarily assumes the risks of the blog and its articles being faulty. It tells the reader the full extent and nature of risks, and that by using the site, the reader voluntarily consents to run the risk.
Most importantly, the disclaimer must be in a visible portion of your blog, and not written in such fine print that a reasonable man is unable to see it. The best way to write a disclaimer is to emulate another similar website’s disclaimer without plagiarising its entirety.