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Thread: To the webmasters here: Do you post an imprint/impressum?

  1. #1
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    To the webmasters here: Do you post an imprint/impressum?

    Somebody brought to my attention today that according to German laws, you're obligated to post an impressum/imprint on your website, even when it's just one for private use! So far, I thought this was only for business pages, but meanwhile, also private individuals have to do this. This means you're obliged by the laws to post your full name, adress, and even phone number! I couldn't believe that, but then I did some research and found out that it's really true, and if you don't have these infos on your site, you can be fined.

    I'm sure this is just a German law (so typical!!! )! How are these things handled in other countries, like the US, or Canada?

    I've added these infos to most of my sites now, but I'm not comfortable with it. I was even thinking about deleting all my pages instead, but I worked on them for so many years, and it's been a lot of work. However, I'm really upset!

    Kirsten

  2. #2
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       There is nothing like this in the federal laws of the United States.

       The only similar requirement is for the .com registry which requires this info from all domain owners. People have been calling me at least since 1995 from this database. This has never bothered me. The worst thing that has happened is a business calling trying to sell something. However, if I were a woman I would not want my contact information to be public.

       Many other domain owners have chosen to enter false information into the .com whois database. From this desire for privacy, a number of services have been created that will enter their name, address, and phone number and forward any meaningful correspondence. If the imprint requirement persists in Germany, I imagine there will be companies that will protect your privacy for a small fee.

       I imagine there are a lot of other people who are as concerned as you are. What are they doing?

       I imagine this German law requires "an address" not necessarily your primary address? In the US there is the government-mandated postal system but there are also many private companies who provide postal addresses for a fee. Do you have those in Germany?

       Could you use you work address or a friend's address instead of your own?

       In the US, Google has given out free telephone numbers for their Grand Central system. Are there websites that give out free German phone numbers?

          Paul

  3. #3
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    Kirsten, if you don't have any friends locally that would permit it, and if you are allowed to use a non-German address, you could just put ours down, and we'd happily forward to you any mail you get.
    I've Been Frosted

  4. #4
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    Paul and Karen, thank you for your replies and suggestions - and for offering your address!

    I did a lot of research meanwhile and as it seems, no other countries have these laws.

    And it says clearly that you need to post your primary address, and even telephone number, otherwise they can charge you. I guess by posting fake addresses, or phone numbers, you make it even worse. It's too risky. There are lawyers out there whose only job it is to find websites that counteract these laws. At least this is what I was told, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was true...

    We also have such a thing as the com-registry; as an owner of a de-domain, everyone can find your address on denic.de. I can live with that, but it bothers me that they force me to post these infos like my address and phone number on my websites also. IMO, it's a violation of my privacy. Seems there are some organizations here who raise their voice against it, but many Germans don't seem to mind. One even couldn't understand how I can publish personal things such as photos on my pages and on the other hand have problems to publish my address, but IMO, that's a huge difference...

    Kirsten

  5. #5
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    Kirsten,
    Could you post the impressum, like you have done, but have the link on the main page that says "impressum" be the same color as the background? That way it would have a link and be legal, but for anyone to actually find it, they would have to scan their cursor over every inch of the page or look at the source code to see that you've made it the same color as the background?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moesha View Post
    Kirsten,
    Could you post the impressum, like you have done, but have the link on the main page that says "impressum" be the same color as the background? That way it would have a link and be legal, but for anyone to actually find it, they would have to scan their cursor over every inch of the page or look at the source code to see that you've made it the same color as the background?
    I was thinking about it, but the law says that the link has to be clearly visible for anyone, and easy to find.

    And I just learnt another thing: I also have to add an impressum to my little forum as well. Not only that I'm responsible for the content of all posts being posted there, I also have to make my personal information public for everyone to see.

    Kirsten

  7. #7
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       Wow, I see this law has existed for years. Requiring primary addresses for individuals is bad idea.

       If your webserver were in Switzerland, would the law still apply to you?

       If this were to happen in the US, one option would be to form a legal entity like a simple type of corporation or partnership that would have a different address.

       (Every year newspapers show images of tiny buildings in foreign countries that are listed as the official address for hundreds of real, large, US corporations to legally evade US taxes.)

          Paul

  8. #8
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    If your webserver were in Switzerland, would the law still apply to you?
    Yes, it would. What counts is where you live, I guess...

    Wish living in Germany wouldn't be so complicated! *sigh* Spent the last three days editing all my pages!

    Heard the Austrians have a similar law now.

    Kirsten

  9. #9
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    I need to have a look at this law, but Paul may be right, if you don't locally host your website or if the web server where your website is is in another country, they probably can't fine you. Again, I will have no clue about what I am saying until I take a look at the law myself.
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