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When is an electronic signature (IP address, timestamp, and checkbox or PNG of the signature) on a contract legally binding? Can a contract be legally binding if it is hosted by one of the parties and said party can modify its contents at any time?

  • Sounds like you are talking about the ToS of a website where there is often language indicating that the terms can change without notice. – ratchet freak Nov 19 '15 at 16:57
  • I'm mostly interested in contracts of work. Here's a realistic example with a problematic but possible scenario: Alice emails Bob a link asking him to sign a contract for freelance work. Bob signs and they both receive an email with a link to the signed contract. It looks like this and it's hosted on Alice's server. They both download or print it. At a later date they have disagreements and decide to go to court. But it turns out they, each, have a different version of contract. Whoever edited it after it's been signed has left no trace behind. – Stefan Nov 19 '15 at 23:34
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Contracts do not have to be signed to be legally binding!

They do not even have to be written down!

What is required (among other things) is that the parties demonstrate their intention to be bound by the contract. If one person offers a contract (in whatever form) and the other person consents to its terms (in whatever form) then they have a contract.

When is an electronic signature (IP address, timestamp, and checkbox or PNG of the signature) on a contract legally binding?

When it is done in such a way that it signifies a consent to be legally bound.

Can a contract be legally binding if it is hosted by one of the parties and said party can modify its contents at any time?

Yes.

If the contract one party the power to modify it unilaterally then it can be modified unilaterally within the scope of that power and that contract (you would be an idiot to sign such a contract for anything significant). All contracts can be modified bilaterally by agreement.

If one party changes the contract when they do not have the agreement of the other or the power to do so unilaterally then that is fraud and does not change the terms of the contract.

Keep your own copy!

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