"Impressum" on websites in Germany

99 posts in this topic

Yourkeau I think you are incorrect.

I can have a website in France, only in French and a German can order on my website. In this case I don't have to be subject to German law.

Only if my website is specifically targeting the germans (for instance by using the german language), shall I comply to german law and have an Impressum section.

 

I think I even saw an EU law somewhere which specify that a EU shop cannot refuse to sell to someone in the EU (I'm not 100% sure though).

 

I can dig up the EU laws if someone is interested.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, foliv said:

I can have a website in France, only in French and a German can order on my website. In this case I don't have to be subject to German law.

Only if my website is specifically targeting the germans (for instance by using the german language), shall I comply to german law and have an Impressum section

You are right, this is what I meant.

 

3 minutes ago, foliv said:

I think I even saw an EU law somewhere which specify that a EU shop cannot refuse to sell to someone in the EU (I'm not 100% sure though).

Maybe such a law exists, but effectively it can by stating that they do not deliver abroad.

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@yourkeau Since you seem to know, what can be done when a firm has a website where NOTHING is offered for sale online, offers contact information that is generic and without names, but has no Impressum? Is there someone to whom one would report such a thing or is that perfectly okay>

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12 minutes ago, AlexTr said:

@yourkeau Since you seem to know, what can be done when a firm has a website where NOTHING is offered for sale online, offers contact information that is generic and without names, but has no Impressum? Is there someone to whom one would report such a thing or is that perfectly okay>

AFAIK, there are lawyers who earn money by sending Abmahnung to website owners who do not comply with Impressumspflicht. So, if you want to sue some online shop, you contact a lawyer and this is the first thing they will check, if there is an Impressum. If not, they send an Abmahnung.

 

Otherwise maybe Vebraucherzentrale is an authority to report this, since Impressumspflicht is first of all consumer law. But it is also a media law (when applied to blogs, but when these blogs show paid ads, this is also a business), there is something in Pressegesetz about contact information. And I do not know where to report when it is just media.

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12 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

AFAIK, there are lawyers who earn money by sending Abmahnung to website owners who do not comply with Impressumspflicht

It's not that easy. If Mr. Rewe doesn't abide the law (by not having an Impressum), Mr. Edeka might ask his lawyer to take action and stop this illegal "competitive advantage".  A lawyer on his own (without saying "on behalf of XXX, one competitor of yours") cannot do anything...

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I understand that if you are resident in Germany you need the impressum, no matter where the site is hosted.

It's basically a "buck stops here" page so you can be found if necessary.

 

You need the impressum if you have links to businesses as well as if your site itself is commercial.

 

For example; I have my own non-commercial website which is basically a hobby one, but I do have a "wall of friends" page with links to some commercial sites so I have an impressum.

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4 hours ago, yourkeau said:

You are right, this is what I meant.

 

Maybe such a law exists, but effectively it can by stating that they do not deliver abroad.

 

Quote

Chapter 3: Non-discrimination when accessing services provided online11

(1) Consumers who wish to acquire online services12 in another Member State shall be granted access by traders to public information on the conditions of access.
(2) Consumers shall not be refused access to services online on grounds of their Member State of residence unless the refusal is justified by objective criteria in accordance to the Commission Staff Working Document with a view to establishing guidance on the application of Article 20(2) of Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market ('the Services Directive').13  Where possible, traders shall inform consumers of this justification for non-delivery of a service into certain territories in the information that they make available to the public at large. When this is not possible, they shall provide such information upon the consumer's request.
(3) When consumers try to access services online, service providers shall not apply less favourable conditions of access to the service to consumers on grounds of their Member State of residence unless the differences are justified by objective criteria.14 Upon the consumer's request, traders shall use their best endeavours to inform consumers of the justification for differences in treatment.

 

So it's not as simple as "just stating that they do not deliver abroad"...

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5 hours ago, franklan said:

It's not that easy. If Mr. Rewe doesn't abide the law (by not having an Impressum), Mr. Edeka might ask his lawyer to take action and stop this illegal "competitive advantage".  A lawyer on his own (without saying "on behalf of XXX, one competitor of yours") cannot do anything...

Interesting. Indeed.

 

Found this page:

http://blog.wpde.org/2013/09/16/interview-anwalt-thomas-schwenke-blogs-gefahr-abmahnung.html

 

The lawyer says that if your website hosts personal data (this includes names in comments/guestbook), you need to have Datenschutzeklärung, which is basically the same as impressum: it should give the user a right to somehow contact you to delete personal data. And data protection authority can fine you, if there is none.

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I've been having this argument with my webguy. He says as the website is hosted in the US and is mostly targeted at non Germans it doesn't need an impressum. He does have a point as I'm selling digital goods and the only contact information on my website will be an email address in theory I don't need one. I'd prefer to be on the safe side and have one, my thinking is to put in my Canadian address and contact information. There's also the GDPR*

 

https://www.e-recht24.de/impressum-generator.html has an option to create one in English and in German. I was digging through the T&C as I was concerned about getting roped into a contract (if I choose the pay monthly option) and noticed under the widerruf that it includes digital goods (might be wrong on this as it was machine translated). It's one thing to return physical goods but it's another for digital goods. The for the less than honest person they could buy the product and "return it" and demand a refund. 

 

*another example of how regulations help entrench incumbants!

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10 minutes ago, Tim Hortons Man said:

He says as the website is hosted in the US and is mostly targeted at non Germans it doesn't need an impressum.

In what country do you pay taxes? In what country is your business registered?

 

That might be a clue on which country's law you have to abide..

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14 minutes ago, Tim Hortons Man said:

I've been having this argument with my webguy. He says as ...

 

In the end you are the customer and if you want it then just tell him to do it.  Sometimes a gentle reminder of who is paying the bill is enough to get push them in the right direction.

 

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It's irrelevant where the website is hosted.

If you're resident here you need an impressum.

 

Even if your website isn't a business but you have links to commercial sites / businesses you need one.

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1 hour ago, Malt-Teaser said:

Even if your website isn't a business but you have links to commercial sites / businesses you need one.

Any source of this??

 

According to my information there are two laws regulating this:

1. Telemediengesetz (§5 TMG), it talks about "business oriented media, normally provided for money". Many interpretations to this, but in general it is areed that if you somehow earn money via your website (e.g. via ads), this law applies.

2. Rundfunkstaatsvertrag (§55 RStV), or additional media laws of the federal states. It talks about "journalistically edited content", so basically any blogs or media-like websites which serve the purpose to influence the public opinion. If you only post photos of kittens, no impressum needed. But if you write opinions on kitten tax or kitten insurance, you need.

 

That is for private websites. For businesses, there are additional laws about publishing tax number, Handelsregister number etc.

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I'd need to hunt for the source but I went through all this about 8 years ago when I started my website.

It's not commercial but has a "Friends" page with links to commercial sites / businesses.

 

Yes, the content of the Impressum has to be more than just an e-mail address as you state.

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34 minutes ago, Malt-Teaser said:

I'd need to hunt for the source but I went through all this about 8 years ago when I started my website.

It's not commercial but has a "Friends" page with links to commercial sites / businesses.

 

Yes, the content of the Impressum has to be more than just an e-mail address as you state.

I'm planning on putting one in anyways I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'm not too worried about privacy in this regard. 

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I have a question about the German data protection laws - which I dont know much about at all  but was reminded by a friend who was proofing my new website about to go live next week. I have on my current and new website a basic impressum that notes who is responsible for the website content and tax number and contact info. I do not sell any product online but I do offer a service that people can email to book. I also offer that people can sign up for a (free) newsletter subscription.  I am based (for tax and living purposes) in Germany, my clients are worldwide. The site is in English not German. There are third party links on the website - eg to Amazon books and I note on those pages that the page will link them to a third party site.  I also have a link to my facebook page which my friend said is no a no go in Germany is that true too?

 

What am I legally required to put on there in my impressum? I prefer to keep it simple rather a lot of legal jargon but I also want to do the right thing too. Input welcomed and very much appreciated.

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1 hour ago, kirakay said:

I also have a link to my facebook page which my friend said is no a no go in Germany is that true too?

Your Facebook page should have Impressum, too (there is a special option for that in Facebook settings). The best thing is just to put link to your main website Impressum there (this applies to other social media).

 

There are no restrictions on any links on your website, but you should put a section in your Impressum called Haftungsausschluss. There you declare that you are not liable for illegal content on the third party websites you link to. Without this section you can be held liable due to German judges not understanding how internet works.

 

1 hour ago, kirakay said:

What am I legally required to put on there in my impressum? I prefer to keep it simple rather a lot of legal jargon but I also want to do the right thing too. Input welcomed and very much appreciated.

Unfortunately if you do business you would rather put a lot of legal jargon than be sued by your competitors.

To be 100% sure, use one of gazillion Impressum generators on the web. for example, this one: https://www.e-recht24.de/impressum-generator.html

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On 3/24/2018, 3:13:16, kirakay said:

I have a question about the German data protection laws - which I dont know much about at all  but was reminded by a friend who was proofing my new website about to go live next week. I have on my current and new website a basic impressum that notes who is responsible for the website content and tax number and contact info. I do not sell any product online but I do offer a service that people can email to book. I also offer that people can sign up for a (free) newsletter subscription.  I am based (for tax and living purposes) in Germany, my clients are worldwide. The site is in English not German. There are third party links on the website - eg to Amazon books and I note on those pages that the page will link them to a third party site.  I also have a link to my facebook page which my friend said is no a no go in Germany is that true too?

 

What am I legally required to put on there in my impressum? I prefer to keep it simple rather a lot of legal jargon but I also want to do the right thing too. Input welcomed and very much appreciated.

What I did was to search for a similar website and copy what ever they put in, of course editing it to reflect my website and address. Most of it is boilerplate anyways. Regarding the GDRP, there is a FB group I came across, just digging through it now

 

GDPR For Online Entrepreneurs (UK, US, CA, AU)

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Hi I am currently building a website - well following the wix instructions to portfolio my wife’s art work - it’s a welcome page, artists statement, some photos and a contact page that basically displays an email/Instagram Account, from the advice on the thread  I added an Impressum although she in nowhere near setting up a business yet, now people tell me I need a Datenschutz page although to my knowledge I don‘t collect any data  on the site - Any advice thoughts 

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