Writing a Disclaimer

Writing a disclaimer has been the most worrisome aspect of writing my eBook.  I am totally paranoid about being sued!  I scrapped together bits and pieces of other peoples’ disclaimers and then had an intellectual property lawyer review it.  It turns out the lawyer was not worth the time and money.

I rewrote the disclaimer again and went with my gut feeling.  I feel like this is one of those things you just have to figure out on your own, because that’s all I could do.  But here’s my advice for anyone out there writing their own disclaimer:

  • Check out books from the library and use one of their disclaimers.  Look at the disclaimers in “Idiot’s Guide” books, “Dummies” books, investment books, and self-help books.  I pieced together a few things from multiple books to make my disclaimer.  I figure if these disclaimers are good enough for these big publishers, they’re good enough for me.
  • Selling a book or product is a business risk. If you sell anything, there will always be a risk of a lawsuit against you.  You have to do what you can to mitigate this risk and then decide if you accept it or not.  This is where I had to go with my gut feeling.  I feel that my risk is low enough to accept it.
  • To mitigate the risk for my eBook, I decided to put the disclaimer on my web site in addition to the front of the book.  Customers must check a checkbox to agree to the terms before they can purchase my book.  Lots of huge corporations use that technique on their web sites, so it should be good enough for me, too.
  • Have a lawyer review your disclaimer if you want to get a warm fuzzy feeling.  However, make sure you get the right kind of lawyer and be aware that lawyers cannot eliminate the risk.  At the end of the line you have to decide if you accept the risk or not.
  • If your product does well and starts making good money, consider starting a business for it.  This is what I plan to do in the near future if my eBook does well.  Then any lawsuits will be against the business and not you.  If you get sued and lose, your business might go bankrupt, but at least they can’t take your personal savings account, house, car, etc.

Again, I can’t stress enough that lawsuits are just a risk you are going to have to accept if you want to sell a product.  I was very paranoid about it, even after seeing a lawyer.  But I finally just went with my gut feelings, wrote my own disclaimer, and I’m going for it.  We’ll see what happens.

Disclaimer: The above advice contains the opinions and ideas of its author.  It is intended to provide helpful and informative material on the subject matter covered.  It is written with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering professional services in this post.  If the reader requires personal assistance or advice, a competent professional should be consulted.  The publisher and the author make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose.


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