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  #1  
Old 23 February 2008, 07:21 PM
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Baseball Red ink is not legally binding

I think we've seen this one before:

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Comment: My boss says that red ink is not legally binding, however this
seems apocryphal to me. Do you know anything on this matter?
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  #2  
Old 23 February 2008, 07:22 PM
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Oh, it is. Just ask Satan!
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  #3  
Old 23 February 2008, 10:10 PM
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I'd always heard that red ink won't show up on a photocopy which is why it's usually requested that one fills out legal documents with black or blue ink.
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Old 23 February 2008, 10:19 PM
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Red ink definitely shows up on a photocopy.

Official documents in Mongolia are written in red ink in times of celebration and ceremony, though.
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  #5  
Old 23 February 2008, 10:35 PM
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Well, keeping in mind that I was told that by my managers, I'm not really surprised to hear that it's not true.
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  #6  
Old 23 February 2008, 10:38 PM
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I recall a time when red ink only showed faintly on photo-copies. Either the quality of the red ink or the photocopy has improved. However, I recall hearing about signatures in red ink not being legally binding, back before photocopying was common.
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  #7  
Old 23 February 2008, 11:09 PM
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It could be a fun way to rip off somone who has red-blue color-blindness. Just put the word "not" in the contract in red ink...

Silas
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  #8  
Old 23 February 2008, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
It could be a fun way to rip off somone who has red-blue color-blindness. Just put the word "not" in the contract in red ink...

Silas
(a) It's red-green colour blindness.
(b) They can see red (and green) things, they just see them as a muddy grey colour.
(c) The principle of non est factum would protect them.

I know your post was probably not intended seriously, but I didn't want anybody getting any ideas.
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  #9  
Old 24 February 2008, 01:15 AM
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Red shows up basically like anything else on a photocopy. Light blue doesn't show up on photocopiers though. I knew someone who had a special light blue pencil he would sketch with and then go over the finished product in black ink. Then he would photocopy it and all the blue disappeared.
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  #10  
Old 24 February 2008, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Class Bravo View Post
I'd always heard that red ink won't show up on a photocopy which is why it's usually requested that one fills out legal documents with black or blue ink.
I know one of the reasons they ask this is if it is a document that they are going to scan optically like a form. The optic scanner uses a red laser like a barcode scanner and red ink doesn't read from a white sheet of paper with a red light.
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  #11  
Old 24 February 2008, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insensible Crier View Post
I know one of the reasons they ask this is if it is a document that they are going to scan optically like a form. The optic scanner uses a red laser like a barcode scanner and red ink doesn't read from a white sheet of paper with a red light.
Do you have any cite for that? Are you talking about a scantron type of answer sheet and the color you fill in the bubbles, or are you talking about a computer scanner used to scan in a document? Because, if you mean the scantron, then the "legally binding" and "signature" parts of the OP don't really match up with your example.

erwins
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  #12  
Old 24 February 2008, 01:51 AM
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We do all our marking on our forms in red ink--it distinguishes what we've done from what the broker submits. Our forms are considered legal documents.
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  #13  
Old 24 February 2008, 02:07 AM
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That goes along with my line of thinking, DoubleNaughtSaleen. I'm thinking, traditionally, red ink has been used to make corrections/notes. I don't think it's so much that red ink isn't legally binding as it is that color has been traditionally reserved for a specific purpose and generally not used for signatures and the like.
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  #14  
Old 24 February 2008, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
I think we've seen this one before:

--------------------------------------------

Comment: My boss says that red ink is not legally binding, however this
seems apocryphal to me. Do you know anything on this matter?
I used to process checks for a remittance processor, and we got tons of checks in red ink. I'm not sure if people were too busy/lazy to find another pen or if they thought the check would be rejected and buy them a couple of days, but we processed every single on of them like normal.
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  #15  
Old 24 February 2008, 02:52 PM
Insensible Crier Insensible Crier is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Do you have any cite for that? Are you talking about a scantron type of answer sheet and the color you fill in the bubbles, or are you talking about a computer scanner used to scan in a document? Because, if you mean the scantron, then the "legally binding" and "signature" parts of the OP don't really match up with your example.

erwins
I'm talking about an optical scanner which is trying to "read" a document, not just merely take a digital picture. This usually is used for those bubble forms or forms where each letter is put in a separate box. The purpose is so that someone doesn't have to enter the information manually.

I wasn't referring the the legally binding part of the OP but as an aside to the comment on why some forms insist using black or blue ink. It has nothing to do with legality but the optical reader won't be able to read it and must be reviewed/entered by hand.

This happens because a red laser can't distinguish red ink on a white sheet of paper. When you project red light on something white, it looks red. When you project red light on something red, it looks red. So there's practically no contrast between the ink and the paper so the scanner can't read the marks.


http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/65...scription.html
Quote:
Optical read head systems (hereinafter referred to as ORHS), that capture information printed, stamped, photographed, photocopied, manually entered, or otherwise placed on either one or both sides of a document surface are well known in the prior art. There are numerous applications, in the field of document scanning--both OMR and image-capture--that require a spectral discrimination capability within the ORHS. For example, a given OMR form may be pre-printed in red ink (e.g., the data-entry marking "bubble" positions, etc.) and the user permitted to enter the data with any marking instrument but red: for example, a lead-pencil and/or black/blue/green ball-point pens or felt-tip markers. Spectral discrimination permits the user marks to be detected while the red ink is not detected.
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  #16  
Old 24 February 2008, 03:49 PM
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I heard many many years ago that you should not write a check with red pen. Something about red being used by the bank to make official marks, not that it would make the check worthless.
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  #17  
Old 24 February 2008, 04:01 PM
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There is some truth to the OP. It may depend on the country, but I do recall that in my law class at university it was mentioned that only blue or black ink was legal on official documents. Since then, I've noticed on certain government documents, like driver's license forms, passports applications, etc., it says right on the form "Blue or black ink only".

A friend and his wife were in Italy once and signed a traveller's cheque in green ink, and a bank wouldn't accept it. It had to be blue or black.

Bermuda customs forms specifically state blue or black ink only.
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  #18  
Old 25 February 2008, 12:30 AM
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I used to have a dark red/burgandy pen that I'd write checks with. Never had a problem with them going through. (eventually lost the pen, though).
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  #19  
Old 25 February 2008, 08:31 AM
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I used to do data entry years ago, and apparently red and green ink wouldn't show up properly on microfiched documents. If we had forms filled out in red or green we had to photocopy the documents and send both the photocopies and originals to microfiche.

Though at least red and green showed up in the photocopies - we had at least one customer who filled in a form with a metallic-ink pen!
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  #20  
Old 25 February 2008, 11:55 AM
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I doubt that red ink is "illegal," but at one time, it was less archival than black or blue-black, in that it quickly faded to a light brown, which was the same color the paper often aged to after awhile, making very old docements in red ink extremely difficult to read. I don't have a cite, I just know I've read this at least two places, and have seen papers with red ink from the early part of the 20th century, and they are very difficult to read.

Since a check is cashed usually right after it is written, it wouldn't seem to make much of a difference, but on a decument like a will, that might sit somewhere for a long time before it is needed, the "no red" rule has some validity.

Modern red ink may have more staying power than older ones, and we're mostly talking about signatures on typed documents now, anyway, so this rule is mostly gone by the wayside, I would imagine.

I don't know whether documents have ever been signed in blood like they sometimes are in books and movies, but enough people have probably heard of this being done, that many would want to avoid red ink, and the implication that blood was intended.
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