Small print

Small print (also known as fine print in the United States) refers to the practice of including necessary legal terms, warnings, disclaimers or other phrases in small writing on commercial or contractual documents. Small print is usually included at the end or bottom of a document, in a smaller type size (as well as generally being in capital letters to make reading more difficult).

Some countries require by law certain information to be included on advertisements or leaflets offering goods or services. Advertisers include this information in small print in order to meet the requirements while drawing the minimum attention away from their sales message.

In other cases, small print is used to preempt claims of false advertising with statements such as the common "Dramatization" or "Actors shown". In extreme cases these subtle notices may not be considered sufficient, but they can considerably strengthen a company's defense.

Unscrupulous businesses may use jargon (which is usually very obtuse legal style writing) in contractual small print to conceal terms disadvantageous to the other party, or to obscure legal rights and obligations. Consumer protection laws have been enacted in several jurisdictions in order to combat this.

In his 1976 album Small Change, Tom Waits said that "The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away."

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