Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
What is a legally acceptable signature (e-mail, PDF, etc.)?
I'm not a lawyer.
Officially, in South Africa, these things are governed by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act [No. 25 of 2002], at: http://www.info.gov.za/gazette/acts/2002/a25-02.pdf .
Unfortunately for South Africans, the Act stipulates that an electronic signature is only legally binding if the signature service provider is accredited by the South African digital encryption accreditation authority, which AFAIK isn't in operation yet.
What do you do when you have a PDF contract that you would like to get signed, but the client doesn't have a scanner to scan the signed copy back into an e-mail? Is simply replying to a plain text e-mail contract legally considered valid?
In South Africa, even an oral non-written contract is considered legally binding. The issue is not whether an e-mailed contract is binding, but whether the courts will accept it as undeniable proof of the agreement if the case goes to court. And in the absence of a signed contract, the onus would be on the person claiming that the agreement exists to prove that the agreement exists.
[Edited at 2006-06-02 08:30]