Short for .signature file, a text file attached to all of one's outgoing e-mail and Usenet posts. A .sig is supposed to contain, at minimum, something (name and/or e-mail address) to identify the sender, but frequently they contain quotes, URLs, and even annoying ASCII art. Four or five lines is a good maximum length for a .sig.

.sig also is the PrintShop suffix for a poster file

Sig files (Gee I love that kind of legal talk)

Does anyone actually read the sig messages at the end of emails? Many of the corporate quasi-para-wannabe-legal sig files I see at the end of messages posted to public news groups and email lists range from amusing to downright offensive. In fact, the whole concept is plain stupid. A notice telling me I am not allowed to read this message comes at the end of the message, dumb!

Here is a typical example:

This e-mail and any attachments may contain information which is confidential, proprietary, privileged or otherwise protected by law. The information is solely intended for the named addressee (or a person responsible for delivering it to the addressee). If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete it from your computer.

Some observations:

This e-mail and any attachments may contain information which is confidential, proprietary, privileged...

What the fresh hell is "privileged information"? What kind of privileges can information have?

...or otherwise protected by law.

Whose law, what law? Some law in your country? Do you know the laws in my country, which may say something like "You can read anything you damn-well please, and no ratbag is allowed to tell you that you cannot read it." Your sig statement may be in breach of that law, watch out! I strongly suggest that you seek competent legal advice in all the countries to which your emails may be transmitted, concerning the laws pertaining to freedom of expression.

In addition, I have seen the same sig file under emails from other companies. It is possible that you have plagiarised it and breached copyright law!

If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you are not authorized to read...

Oh yeah, right. From now on, I'm going to first check the addressee, then jump to the end to read the .sig and see if I'm authorized to read the email. No unarmed person can prevent me from reading something. If you do not want me to read it, then do not show it to me, that is your responsibility, not mine.

If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately...

What, you made a mistake and now I have to spend my time fixing it? "...immediately"? You are joking, why did you bother writing this? Surely you don't think I will take you seriously? On the other hand, my fee for composing and sending an email to correct your error is 20.00, payable in advance on account.

Your email was sent to an email list with about 5000 addressees, what will you do when you suddenly receive 4999 emails telling you how stupid you are?

...and delete it from your computer."

Clearly, this does not go far enough. Why not add: "You are also hereby required reformat or destroy your hard disk, and that of your email server, to ensure complete erasure of the message we sent you in error. Following this, we require that you cut off both hands and have your tongue surgically removed so as not to inadvertantly re-transmit the confidential information and thus breach legal professional privilege as a result of our stupid error."

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This was a Friday rant. If you read it on any other day, BY LAW you must immediately wipe it from memory and store it in a secure place until your calendar indicates that it is a Friday.

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