"Impressum" on websites in Germany

99 posts in this topic

 

I may not give my full name and might slightly fudge the address, or is this a worse thing to do?

 

That's not at all wise. You already have a web stalker:

 

 

Anyway, I was talking to a bit of a strange chap yesterday and he said that I needed to have an Impressum page with my address now I was in Germany. He then threatened to shop me to a lawyer and they would (apparently) get 3,000€ out of me as I am technically a journalist if I am earning money from it.

 

Even if he doesn't have a cast iron case, he can give you [a lot of] trouble, in which case an erroneous Impressum is [much] worse than none at all.

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Anyway, I think on balance I will put an Impressum on the blog. I may not give my full name and might slightly fudge the address, or is this a worse thing to do? It just seems weird to give the address of where my expensive bikes live!

 

This is not a worse thing to do but also not a better. The same offense, see post by 2B_orNot2B.

 

What you can do is to find a friend who agrees their name being put on Impressum (and doesn't have expensive bikes!)

 

Then you can do the following:

 

Auntie Hellen

c/o Auntie Hellen's Friend

Friendstraße 13

99999 Bad Friendlingen

auntie.hellen@email

 

Phone number is not required.

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How about a Postfach / P.O. box instead of a street address?

A Postfach is easily rented at some local Postamt.

That way she wouldn't give away her location to thieves and stalkers, and she can pick up mail at leisure.

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Bingo! Give that Metall a medal.

 

I should really have thought of mentioning that myself. :blink:

Especially because, just 4 days ago, on another thread I'd posted:

For regular letters, magazines, etc. for only 15 Euros you can get a Deutsche Post Postfach

 

yourkeau's suggestion could work too, but I don't know if you'd have a reliable friend nearby already.

 

I agree with YL6 and yourkeau though. You shouldn't fake it.

T'would be an active breach of ze roolz and da intawebz nevah 4getz! :ph34r:

 

2B

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I've bitten the bullet and gone legal.

 

After all, the address here is not my actual home address in the UK. And although I have expensive bikes here they are hard to sell second-hand (too unusual/customised) and I have my trained attack cockapoo if someone comes looking.

 

Does seem a bit weird but I've been chatting to various friends who have blogs and they all have Impressums (Impressa?) and just live with it.

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Does anyone know if there are places where you can rent an address? (not a post box). So you can use that address and have it on your website or on your business card, but not actually live there. Perhaps pay a monthly fee of €30 and you can stop by daily to check if you received mail etc...

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Unbe-freakin-lievable.

 

I don't even maintain a blog, but just reading up on this has got me feeling all indignant. The obvious contradiction with the interest of privacy, as STB pointed out, along with this fellow threatening to turn Helen in for something that does no harm to anyone, when he could have simply minded his own business...

 

On the one hand, I can see where it might be important to include contact information for redress if the blog content violates someone else's privacy or makes libelous statements. But assuming your blog does not, what earthly reason could be argued for requiring the Impressum? There is certainly no "consumer" to protect. Even for commercial operations, I don't think you could make the consumer protection argument for any business that handles transactions solely through a brick-and-mortar location. In that case, the customer already knows how to contact you.

 

If I had a simple blog, I'd be inclined to challenge any claim by one of these Abmahners in court on both the applicability of the law and privacy grounds. Would the lawyer really risk a ruling against them with broad implications that may result in the loss of a revenue stream? Granted, I'm no lawyer and don't know what I would be getting myself into, but sometimes people have to fight for principle. Aren't there privacy advocate groups in Germany that would assist in the defense?

 

That was my gripe. Here is my constructive contribution: We all know that there are automatic web crawlers that trawl the WWW for contact information with intent to spam and scam. Would it not be sufficient to only put a contact form in the Impressum page, through which people could request that the personal information be send to them via email or post? What could be the argument against that idea? It would give visitors the same access to redress, assuming the publisher was required to respond.

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Thanks johnny English, will check it out.

 

Found a couple of them today.

 

http://www.bbc-n.de/en/virtual-office.html

 

http://www.siriusfacilities.com/en/products/office-space/smartspace-offices

 

http://www.dussmann-office.com/en/service/the-virtual-office/

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Hmm you have a registered domain and you realy think, that you can hide your address? Is it somehow possible to legally register a domain without your real address? (if it is not something like de.vu) Normally "Whois + domain" is enough to get your adress, from denic or other registrars.

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The WHOIS postal address is out of date for at least one of my websites. There's no-one checking that the address you give when you register a domain is correct; nothing is ever posted to you.

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Hmm you have a registered domain and you realy think, that you can hide your address? Is it somehow possible to legally register a domain without your real address? (if it is not something like de.vu) Normally "Whois + domain" is enough to get your adress, from denic or other registrars.

 

I own a .eu domain and have opted not to disclose my personal information in Whois. I don't know if this is also possible for .de domains.

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I own a .eu domain and have opted not to disclose my personal information in Whois. I don't know if this is also possible for .de domains.

 

As I registered my domain, I got a letter and had to confirm my adress. It was a .de adress, and as far as i know it is not possible with .de

 

I will research the possibilities of other domains.

 

Thank you, for your answers.

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I would like to revive this thread as I am about to create a website for a company in Germany.

I understant that you need this "Legals" ("Impressum") page and that there is no way around it.

 

However it doesn't really bother me to display all the information, it just bothers me to let it wide open to spammer and other robots.

 

I've read interesting articles about the use of CAPTCHA to protect the Impressum info like Privacy CAPTCHA:

Privacy Captcha fürs Impressum – keine gute Idee

Warnung vor Privacy Captcha fürs Impressum überzogen

 

The idea to display the Impressum as a CAPTCHA image may be flawed, but how about displaying a standard CAPTCHA (both with visual and audio option) to give access to the Impressum page ?

In that case I think the website is compliant to the law ?

 

P.S. : perhaps someone can move this thread to "Legal" ?

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Tricky. Courts in germany have ruled in the past that a T&C box which was only like 6 lines long (so you had to scroll in it to read it) was illegal as it made it too hard for the customer to read.

 

Internet law is not an exact science...a competitor can always write an Abmahnung or sue you, and then it's up to a court to decide if they're right or not. Anything that makes it harder for someone to access the Impressum could work against you.

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However it doesn't really bother me to display all the information, it just bothers me to let it wide open to spammer and other robots.

 

My solution,  use an image file. 

 

1. Create an image file with the required information, and post the image file on the impressum page. Since the text is now an image, the spiders cannot read them like normal text and will skip the image. 

 

2. Make sure that the impressum page is skiped  on the robot.txt

 

3. When naming the image file, name it irrelevant to the content, such as e98re12s6ts554.jpg, instead of foliv-impressum.jpg, this will ensure that even if the robots read them, they will not pop up on the search results.

 

It will still be visible to a physical person so should meet the requirement of the law. Maybe some image processing robot, if any, will be able to read that, but if such robots were there, they could do captcha too, so I don't see a problem with it. 

 

 

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An image as "Impressum" may work, but it's clearly in the "grey zone" (because of blind people for instance) :

Spam-Schutz: Impressum als Grafik einbinden?

Abmahnung wegen Impressums als Bilddatei

Spam-Abwehr: Ist ein Impressum als Grafikdatei zulässig?

Impressum als Grafik: Abmahnung

 

A good CAPTCHA is normally designed to be accessible by everyone (even blind people), so I thought it could work.

 

I haven't found any website which has tried this approach (however my german is not so good).

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It's only the email address that you're  worried about, right? Spamers don't write letters any more. There are plugins  in Dreamweaver etc. that allow the email address to be displayed without being readable by bots.

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I would like to protect all information about me from address harvester and robots.

Or at least to make them work/sweat to get the info !

 

If the Dreamweaver plugin prevents the email to be readable by bots, there is a high chance that it won't be easily read by blind people as well. Which can open me to litigation.

 

I know we are in the "grey zone" and I am looking to prepare my arguments in case of litigation.

So far with my simple solution, it seems to be bullet-proof except if we judge CAPTCHA to be hard to solve (which can very well be the case).

Perhaps I can just make a Yes/No box...

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