RightSignature Legality

Are contracts executed online legally valid and binding?

Yes. Documents executed online with electronic signatures are legally valid and have the same legal standing as paper documents executed by hand. It is highly likely that you have already contracted online. For example, when you click on an “I Agree” button on the internet, you are usually a party to what is known as a Clickwrap Contract. Also, when you purchase goods online, you are a party to a legally binding contract.

RightSignature’s technology is in full compliance with the 2000 U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), as well as the European Directive (EC/1999/93), all of which intended to encourage the rapid adoption of electronic signatures and decrease use of antiquated paper methods. Each of these acts reinforces the validity of electronic agreements. According to ESIGN, for example, a contract “may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its formation.”

References for further reading:

“Electronic Signatures and Online Contracts,” Nolo.com article

Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament

U.S. Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN)

Is RightSignature giving me legal advice?

RightSignature does not provide any legal advice and, due to the varying circumstances of each agreement, cannot guarantee the validity of any document executed online. Please see our terms of service. We encourage you to consult your attorney with any questions.

In what jurisdiction is the contract actually signed?​

The jurisdiction of a contract is usually defined in the text of the document. Just like a document signed via fax or express mail, a document signed on RightSignature is subject to whatever jurisdiction the document establishes in its jurisdiction clause.

What precautions should I take?​

RightSignature’s electronic documents are just like normal paper contracts, and you should use the same precautions you would with a written or faxed contract. For instance, before proceeding with a deal, ensure that the contract is signed by both parties. View the RightSignature Signature Certificate online and/or download a copy of the executed agreement to your computer. Check to see that all signatures look reasonable and correct, just like you would with a written or faxed contract.

Which E-signature laws does RightSignature software designed to address?

RightSignature’s electronic signature software has been designed to address key requirements of:

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act , Pub. L. No. 106-229, 114 Stat. 464 (2000) (15 U.S.C. §§7001-7031);

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), as approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1999 (7A Pt. 1 U.LA. 211, 211-99 (2002)); and

Many state laws modeled after UETA.

These e-signature laws are intended to encourage the rapid adoption of digital signatures and decrease the use of antiquated paper methods. Under E-SIGN, a contract “may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its formation.” 15 U.S.C.A. § 7001(a)(2). Similarly, under Section 7(d) of UETA, if a law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law. Furthermore, E-SIGN provides that any state’s law is preempted if and to the extent that it does not comply with UETA or its substantial equivalent. 15 U.S.C.A. § 7002. While these e-signature laws reinforce the validity of many types of electronic agreements, the laws do not cover certain types of documents, such as statutes, regulations, or other rules of laws governing wills, codicils, testamentary trusts, adoption, divorce, or other matters of family law, certain commercial transactions, certain court documents, and certain notices, generally do not affect substantive requirements of otherwise applicable substantive law, and contain requirements for creating enforceable agreements.

What is an intent to sign?

One of the primary criteria for a valid e-signature is whether the e-signature evidences a clear intent by the signatory to sign. RightSignature’s capture of a real handwritten signature provides evidence of the signer’s intent to execute the document. Furthermore, RightSignature’s second-generation handwritten signature capture technology addresses potential legal issues that may arise with first-generation click-to-sign systems, because handwritten signatures cannot be inadvertently affixed to contracts and uniquely identify a signer whereas click-to-sign buttons can easily be inadvertently clicked and clicked by others who have access to a signer’s computer or smartphone.

Which E-signature laws address signatures associated with documents?

Under E-SIGN and UETA, a compliant electronic signature must be an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record. 15 U.S.C.A. § 7006(5); UETA §2(8). RightSignature locks down the executed document with the signature record and produces a Signature Certificate that includes the handwritten signature graphic and an auditable activity log. In addition, when you use our drag-and-drop signature boxes, RightSignature places the handwritten signature at the appropriate locations inside the document.

Are consumer disclosures available?

E-SIGN allows electronic documents and records with electronic signatures to comply with statutes, regulations, or other rules of law that require that information relating to a transaction or transactions in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce be provided or made available to a consumer in writing if the consumer has provided affirmative consent to such use and has not withdrawn the consent, and the consumer, prior to consenting, receives a clear and conspicuous statement of certain information and provides certain consents. 15 U.S.C.A. § 7001(c). RightSignature users may address the E-SIGN disclosure and consent requirements by enabling a Consumer Disclosure Page for each document and requiring other parties to consent to certain terms prior to executing contracts. RightSignature also allows potential signatories the ability to opt out from receiving or executing electronic contracts.

How are records protected?

After signing, RightSignature secures your executed document with a complex hash algorithm to ensure the permanent record is tamper-proof.

Which E-signature laws address document access and security?

Section 7001(d) of E-SIGN and Section 12(a), (b), (d) and (e) of UETA contain requirements for record-keeping. Contracts executed with electronic signatures are delivered in Portable Document Format to signatories so that they can retain them for the periods prescribed by any applicable statutes of limitations. RightSignature stores your documents in a secure archive for the duration of the time you maintain a paid account, utilizing the world-class data infrastructure of Amazon Web Services for security and redundancy.

Is there an audit log?

Section 13 of UETA states that evidence of a record or signature may not be excluded from being admissible evidence solely because it is in electronic form. Every document sent through RightSignature includes a detailed audit log, complete with time stamps, identity authentication, and other critical information. RightSignature can provide a legal foundation to introduce the documents as evidence and have courts enforce them.

Which authentication systems are in use?

RightSignature employs a proprietary, multivariate identity authentication system. Components include email address validation, biometric signature analysis, IP address capture, and the collection of other identifiers unique to each signing party.

Which platforms work best for RightSignature?

RightSignature is platform-agnostic. Parties esign on any computer, using any web browser, with no downloads and no plug-ins. This technological neutrality gives all recipients an equal opportunity to execute documents without impediment.

For more information on the legal validity of documents executed with RightSignature, please see our Legality page.

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