Another post inspired by a mailing list post.

Today, a young lady posted, without context of any kind, an email to a semi-public email listserv, asserting:

Disclaimer:  All communication sent from charityXXXXX@XXXXX.COM, or from Charity XXXXX
is privileged communication, owned exclusively by Charity XXXXX, as proprietary owner/ideas and information as copyright. No duplication, dissemination or profit from the above-mentioned material may occur without the express discretionary consent of owner, Charity XXXXX.
Copyright Charity XXXXX 1958-2012
All rights reserved

You see a lot of these kinds of things these days.  Problem is, they’re completely pointless.  As was pointed out by the Economist back in April of last year.  And by Slate, in 2004.  In fact, the only thing I can find which indicates these sort of stupid things have any merit is this guy, and then only in very limited circumstances.

So naturally, I had to reply.

You can say all you want that I’m not allowed to “duplicate, disseminate, or profit” from these communications, but you know what?  I don’t agree to your terms.  Since we’re not in agreement, there is no contract.  Since there is no contract, you have no recourse, legally, if I DO choose to disseminate the emails you send to me.  Don’t want me to use your words or ideas for my own benefit?  Best not to send me (or public, or semi-private listservs) email with your valuable ideas then …

What it DOES say about you when you include a disclaimer such as the one below is that you don’t understand contract law, intellectual property law, and that you’re probably overly-litigious — all factors which, in my view, diminish your trustworthiness substantially.

But Charity XXXXX decided she needed the last word, so she posted:

I actually have spoken with an entertainment/communication lawyer, who also is a close colleague, about this. Actually, yes, I most certainly can handle it the way I am handling it.
 I have the right to handle my life and career any way I choose! It’s quite legal and it meets legal standards.
Moreover, I long ago finished my internship and went into the workforce. I paid my dues with unpaid internships and I certainly paid my dues at XXXXX as a graduate student, and at XXXXX as an undergraduate.
If anyone wants my expertise he/she can hire me.
If he/she feels I need training, it’s called “on the job training”(I am open to that any time).
I’ve more than donated my time. I am not a professional gopher, and I am not a non-for-profit charitable organization, and I am not here to barter my skills and talents and abilities.
Most importantly, I am no longer sitting in the XXXXX classroom or in a legal RPA situation with the journalism pack from XXXXX. I am in the workforce. It costs me money for any overhead or equipment, just as with any other employer.
I do not owe anyone my time or expertise.
I love my work, and must do my life’s work for profit. I was given talents and abilities to serve with that in mind.

Now, I’m not saying she’s not entitled to copyright on her work.  I’m saying she isn’t allowed to try to enforce contractual obligations on me when I haven’t agreed to those obligations.
So, I’ve republished the partial content of her emails.  It’s on a public web page that has ads on it.  Think your email disclaimer carries the weight of law behind it?  That’s cool.

Come at me, bro.