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S-signature is a signature in this form: (assuming the person is named Alice): /s/Alice of /Alice/

Since anyone can reproduce it, why is it valid?

  • Do you have a specific context in mind? – jqning Dec 30 '15 at 4:38
  • Maybe it isn't valid after all. – phoog Dec 30 '15 at 5:03
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You misunderstand the primary purpose of a signature. It is not to prevent forgery; claims that a signature was forged are vanishingly rare, as are actual forged signatures. The difficulty of forging a signature is not particularly a factor in whether or not it can legally be used, although it may be a factor in how much a jury believes it. And you can introduce other evidence to justify the existence of the contract, like negotiation documents and the conduct of both sides.

The primary point of a signature is to show acceptance. A signature is something that people recognize as committing yourself to whatever you sign. S-signatures are not what you normally write on documents, so they can serve this role. The authentication role of wet-ink signatures is served through some kind of evidence that the signature was actually made by the signer, which can be as simple as email headers. And, of course, forging an electronic signature is a crime, and you can be forced to testify under oath about whether you did or did not sign it (you can and should take the Fifth to avoid incriminating yourself in criminal fraud, but a civil jury can then assume that you really did forge it).

Electronic signatures may be forgeable, but so are wet ink signatures. Signatures aren't meant to be perfectly secure; again, forgery is almost never raised as a defense, in part because forgery on signatures is very rare. Wet ink signatures aren't some ironclad proof of an agreement either.

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