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Legally required "Webimpressum" (Web Imprint) in Germany

 7:27 am on Aug 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good morning,

German law requieres for some time now that a (german) website needs to have a web-imprint, giving detailed information on the company, it's tax number, it's legal representative etc...

Even though the information required by the web imprint is unquestionably useful to have on the webpage, the German law requieres that the web-imprint has to be on a prominent, easy to reach position on the site. It's also highly recommended that the word "Impressum" (imprint) or "Web Impressum" should be used.

The question is: what about a German company hosting a website on a German server, which is targeted to NON-GERMAN visitors? If the German-language part of the site needs to have a web-imprint, do the same rules apply for the e.g. English- or Dutch-language parts as well? And if so - is the information required to be in German or translated?

Unfortunately, the web-imprint has become a hot subject for competitors or even third parties to issue dissuasions ("Abmahnungen") which are quite costly.

Anybody any input on this?



 7:41 am on Aug 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

How does the imprint display? Most sites with a commercial footing have a section with this information.


 7:43 am on Aug 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

>German company hosting a website on a German server

I'm pretty sure the rules apply in that case, regardless of language and target market.
German company, hosted in Germany = german law.


 10:13 am on Aug 20, 2003 (gmt 0)


As I said - the information itself should be a "must have" for every website. However, normally I would spread the information on different pages: the companies address should be in the footer of every page, the legal representative (usually the owner of the company) should have its own page or being part of the "About Us" page, and the tax-number and legal registration info belong to yet another page.

However, this special German law requires it all the be on ONE page, the page title is highly recommended to be "Web Impressum", and the page must be prominently placed and easily accessible. In other words: a roadblock in a otherwise fine tuned site-structure and navigation flow.

For my German pages, there's no arguing about it. If I don't want to receive costly dissuasions or face litigation I'd better build the "roadblock" as required by law.

However I was hoping to get around for my English and Dutch pages.


 10:20 am on Aug 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a job for the all-powerful portal page. Built a nice looking portal with one link for the imprint above all other links -- unnmissable -- and then links for each of your different main content pages below (English, German, Dutch). Make sure the portal is served as the default page for the domain. Would that meet the law's requirement, or must it be present in every individual page as well?



 10:28 am on Aug 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Try putting the page in a separate folder, and excluding it in your robots.txt file. That will stop it interfering too much

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