Is Cc: Enough to Forward to Others?

What is proper E-mail Etiquette when forwarding personal emails sent to you to a third party? By Cc:ing the Sender when you forward their email make it “O.K.”? No, it does not! That email was sent to you for your eyes only!

Whether it be a business or personal email common courtesy would dictate you don’t forward emails sent to you, to others, without the original sender’s knowledge. That said, we all know people who do this every day. And as I am sure you can agree, rarely is it for positive reasons. Usually it’s to make fun of, e-tattle or to just plain gossip. For those who do this, know this practice will come back to haunt you one day. You do so to others; they do the same to you.

What many do not realize is that all emails are naturally copyright protected by the author. So in order to forward an email sent to you to another person, you should get the writer’s permission to do so first.

Cc’ing doesn’t negate your responsibility to ask for permission. Notifying the Sender as you forward their email does not replace asking before you take action. The Sender may not want their words to you published to others. That is their choice to make — not yours.

E-mails are sent and written to the party for which they were intended, not to be sent to others without the Sender’s knowledge or permission. By Cc’ing without asking you risk the Sender’s wrath due to the possibility they didn’t want the content shared. Even if you feel there is nothing personal or that the email is about a “common subject” that is subjective to each person’s definition of what can be considered common.

Show you get it and are not a sneaky gossiper. Always ask first before sharing any email sent to you.

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