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With a society that is often prone to rush to litigation, the use of legal disclaimers in books have grown in popularity and are often strongly recommended. These disclaimers are suitable when your book offers health, fitness, diet, or financial advice. They also serve to protect the author and the publisher against liability when their book’s topic might invade someone’s privacy or result in a claim of defamation. In addition, when you provide instructional information or advice, it’s a good idea to protect yourself and your product from being held liable for the results achieved from their use or implementation.
That said, how do you, as an author, craft a legal disclaimer that will protect you and your book? It really isn’t that difficult. The easiest way to find the technical language that should be included in a legal disclaimer is to review disclaimers contained in books similar to yours and revise or mirror them. For instance, if your book offers financial advice, review the legal disclaimers in bestselling books that offer financial advice. It’s recommended that you select books published by a traditional publishing house, which has a legal staff who pens their disclaimers.
Here are a few samples of legal disclaimers used in books to get you started:
The information provided in this book is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. This book is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical problem, consult your own physician. The publisher and author are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this book. References are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any websites or other sources. Readers should be aware that the websites listed in this book may change.
Here is a disclaimer from a motivational book written in the Chicken Soup style, containing different chapters from different authors.
This book is designed to provide information and motivation to our readers. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged to render any type of psychological, legal, or any other kind of professional advice. The content of each article is the sole expression and opinion of its author, and not necessarily that of the publisher. No warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied by the publisher’s choice to include any of the content in this volume. Neither the publisher nor the individual author(s) shall be liable for any physical, psychological, emotional, financial, or commercial damages, including, but not limited to, special, incidental, consequential or other damages. Our views and rights are the same: You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results.
Here’s the legal disclaimer from a book which outlines a program for business administrators:
This book is presented solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this book, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness of use for a particular purpose. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information or programs contained herein. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. Every company is different and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should seek the services of a competent professional before beginning any improvement program. The story and its characters and entities are fictional. Any likeness to actual persons, either living or dead, is strictly coincidental.
As you can see, a legal disclaimer doesn’t have to be a lengthy contract. It’s a small amount of work, though, that can offer a large amount of defense and protection.
Alicia Dunams coaches her clients on how to expedite the book-writing process and “Make Your Book Your Business.” Her clients include best-selling authors who have appeared on national media outlets such as 20/20 and CNN, and have been written up in The New York Times. These “authorpreneurs” are adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to their bottom line – all by leveraging their published books. Visit http://www.aliciadunams.com or http://www.17daybookchallenge.com for more information.