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[whatwg] do not encourage use of small element for legal text (was: Pre-Last Call Comments)

From: Křištof Želechovski <giecrilj@stegny.2a.pl>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 21:31:01 +0200
Message-ID: <FE1644C2F3524BFBA408EBA27F98F04A@POCZTOWIEC>
While I actually defended the recommendation to use the SMALL element for
legal text, and I am still ready to do it, it is worth noting that the text
of section?4.6.6. does not contain such a recommendation.  It merely states
that out of possible uses of the SMALL element, the legal use is the most
common.
The term "legalese" does not apply to pages that have the text of law as the
main content, as in your example with the constitution.  It only applies to
cases where the legal text describes either the current page or the thing
described by the current page and it is considered secondary to the main
content.

The example

<h1>
<a href="continue.html">
Welcome to the BigCo web site. Click to continue.
</a>
</h1>
<small>By clicking above, you agree that BigCo can charge your
credit card $10 per visit to the BigCo web site per page clicked.</small>

is incorrect, it should read:

<p>
<a href="continue.html">
Welcome to the BigCo web site. Click to continue.  
</a> <STRONG > Terms and conditions apply (see below).</STRONG >
</p>
<small>By clicking above, you agree that BigCo can charge your
credit card $10 per visit to the BigCo web site per page clicked.</small>

(Legal text itself can be small but its existence must be advertised so that
the customer knows what to send to her lawyer.)

Regarding the example 

<h1>BigCo Services: We guarantee our work</h1>
<small>Except between the hours of 12:01 am and 11:59 pm.</small>

It is also incorrect: a warranty is as much of legalese as a disclaimer.
Would it make everybody happier if the relevant text quoted warranties
alongside disclaimers?

IMHO,
Chris
Received on Thursday, 4 June 2009 12:31:01 UTC

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