The ultimate email disclaimer footnote

Disclaimer stamp Image copyright Thinkstock

An MP has called for an end to "useless" legal disclaimers at the bottom of emails. Sir Alan Duncan says they result in "forests' worth of paper" being wasted. Jon Kelly drafts the footnote to end them all.

Please think carefully before printing this email, as carefully as you might choose a minibreak destination or the name of a family cocker spaniel. As your fingers hover over the ctrl and P keys, ask yourself: Must this message really exist as physical matter in three-dimensional space? Could I perhaps commit its contents to memory using some kind of mnemonic, or scribble it all down on the back of my hand? What would Daryl Hannah do?

This email is strictly confidential and, if your eyes have accidentally fallen upon its contents without the Company's express permission, please try to forget everything within, as though it were a fleeting but ultimately disastrous love affair. Failing that, you undertake to agree that your brain's frontal lobe and hippocampus become the property of the Company until such time this email fades from your recollection like an internet banking password. Oh, and keep schtum.

Additionally, this email is the property of the Company but any opinions expressed within are entirely the responsibility of the sender, whom the Company will mercilessly hang out to dry in the event of hostile media coverage and/or the merest hint of a Twitterstorm. Unfunny forwarded jokes, passive-aggressive reply-alls and annual round-robin updates on the family triumphs of casual acquaintances are nothing to do with us, guv, honestly, we're sick of them filling up our inboxes too.

If you are unsure about any of this, you can study this disclaimer more closely by highlighting key passages in highlighter ink on a printout. But before doing so, please think carefully.

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