The thing about signatures is that they are simply a confirmation that a person accepts something. It is the “something”, i.e. the promises contained in a contract, which usually cause problems – such as non-payment or disagreement in the expectations of the contract. If you simply put a scanned signature on the document, that document could be secretly altered, and it would be difficult to prove that it did not originally contain those inserted clauses or modified terms. It is too easy to handle an Econtract electronically. Many people still mistakenly believe that only an “original” signature is enforceable. This would require an original of the contract signed by the parties and not a copy, fax or scan of the contract. However, the rules of evidence have always addressed this issue by criminalizing any party who loses original documents (this is part of the 2010 deduction of mortgage seizures by robo-signers who do not have access to the original documents). The hardest part is avoiding fraud. Electronic signatures that comply with electronic signature laws, such as ESIGN, have built-in anti-fraud technologies to ensure that the electronic version of signatures cannot be used. There is no point in knowing that your scanned signature will be accepted if the contract to which it belongs has fundamentally changed and you cannot prove that this is the case. In our opening example, the seller would have to prove that the customer changed the price to 50% of the original.
It is an expensive thing. Secure digital signatures, with anti-fraud technology components and creating complete verifiable leads are the only real way to create contracts of trust. Scanners can save your documents in different formats. The scanned document is an image, so you can save your document in image formats such as JPEG and TIFF, or even as a PDF document. The choice of document format should vary depending on the intended use of the document. For example, if you scan the signed document for your own recordings, TIFF is an uncompressed image format and retains the maximum detail. If you send the scanned document to someone else, save it as a PDF to ensure maximum compatibility with the document reader software. In practice, it is good to be able to prove that a contract exists in the event of a dispute. For this reason, it is advisable to use a form that allows a (certain degree of) proof.
In this regard, a paper document or a document with an officially recognized electronic signature is preferable, a scanned document or email is usually fine, an oral agreement is likely to be problematic. It is quite common for different parties to exchange signed documents online in signed form (e.g.B. distance employment contracts). Would those documents have any power in the courts? Is it necessary to use the original documents for them to have legal value? It is valid to have one or more scanned signature(s) on a document. This must be the case in a world where we are more likely to work with someone who is geographically distant than with a local. It is only convenient to be able to use an electronic version of a document instead of paper copies by mail. The most important question when signing a faxed or scanned document is whether it can be proven that the party who would have signed the contract actually signed it. Since the parties were not together at the time of signing, fraud is somewhat more likely than when signing the original contracts together. Now that technology has established its sustainability, the use of electronic documentation has crossed the threshold of legal reliability. There are still issues of evidence or evidence that do not lead to the fundamental validity of electronically executed contracts. It actually happened to a colleague who was the CTO of a software development company. The CTO signed a contract that contained various clauses, none of which mentioned the intellectual property of existing products.
The worst happened and there was a dispute over various property rights. The original contract had signed signatures at the insistence of the original company. When his day came to court, the other company had added additional pages to the contract without his consent. However, he had to prove that they had inserted them and that they had not been part of the original – in every way, they looked like what they were. The dispute was long and costly and required a forensic analysis of the contract – it ended well for my colleague, but came at a price. Ultimately, faxes and electronic transmissions are now systematically accepted as sufficient proof of what they claim to be. Decades ago, some states began accepting faxes as provisional evidence of an agreement. However, as faxes often degenerated, they were not always decisive for the proof. in fact, often dismissed as hearsay. Many courthouses required an original within a certain period of time to replace thin fax sheets. But fortunately, as fax records have become less prone to data errors and fax paper has been replaced by permanent printing, they have also gained credibility. The original is always the best.
In the act, we have what is called the best evidence rule. Essentially, if you are presenting evidence to a court, it must be the best evidence available. So, if a signed agreement is proof, then the agreement with the original signatures of both parties is the best proof. Everything else is the second best. For example, an agreement with an original signature and a copy of the other signature. Or a photocopy of an agreement containing the two original signatures. It will always be possible to answer questions about the second best evidence. For example, what is the quality of the copy? Is the copy intact? Did anyone change the copy? Could someone have changed it? The most widely used reproduction techniques, including photocopying, microfilm, facsimile, and document imaging, all have the same characteristics: Image Capture – A photographic, scanning, or other process that identifies and captures the image of the original document. Image Manipulation – A photographic, electronic, photostatic or other process that converts the captured image into an image storage and reproduction format. Visible reproduction – A photographic, photostatic, printing or other process that converts the manipulated image into a visible form. For example, a document imaging system uses an electronic scanner for image recognition, computer software, memory, and optical disk storage for image manipulation, as well as graphics terminals and laser printers to make the image visible.
A document imaging system is similar to other reproduction technologies in that a document imaging system uses an electronic scanner for image recognition. Computer software, memory and optical disk space for image processing, as well as graphics terminals and laser printers to make the image visible. As long as this is done correctly, the courts have confirmed that imaging and scanning are just as legally binding as paper documents. The legal acceptance of scanned document images depends on the process by which the documents were created. Signatures are essential elements of many types of contracts and other documents that require approval. Scanners can help you scan these sensitive documents so that you can then save them yourself or email them to other parties. Since signed documents are usually very important, make sure the signature is clear during scanning. To do this, you can configure the resolution, bit depth, and document format of the scan. Companies looking to reduce their paper stack may want to migrate their files to a digital database, but are wary of the legal aspects of the process. What are the rules for document management and, most importantly, are scanned documents legally accepted? There you go. I would like to add a few thoughts.
First of all, I would generally prefer to send and receive scanned and emailed signature pages rather than fax signature pages. And second, the only way to challenge a fax or a scanned signature page would be to claim it has been falsified. Given that in any consumer transactional email would likely provide a lot of evidence of what has been agreed upon and the status of the transaction, the chances of someone getting away with a fake or trying to pull out of a business by offering a claim for infringement seem slim. 🚨 A scanned handwritten signature has no legal value for several reasons: to repeat it, a scanned signature on a contract is quite acceptable by law. But acceptance is not the problem. Copies of electronic contracts, faxed versions of contracts, and versions scanned or stored electronically are all “good” contracts and enforceable: although they can always be rejected if they prove unreliable. Today, contracts are very often executed (or signed) electronically, at least partially, by fax or scanned copy, with a person signing the contract and then transmitting it in one form or another, who then signs it and returns a countersigned version. Ultimately, there is an inherent trade-off between opportunity and the highest standards of authentication.
- On March 29, 2022