An imprint is a legally required statement that must be included on a website. It serves to identify the owner of the website as well as to provide legal information about the operator and the person responsible for the content of this website. In Germany, the imprint obligation is regulated in the Telemedia Act (TMG), the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (RStV) and in press law.
Components of an imprint
An imprint should contain at least the following information:
- Name and address of the site operator and, if applicable, of the authorized representative, e.g. in the case of a limited liability company, the managing director.
- Contact information such as phone number, e-mail address and fax number, if available
- For registered companies, the commercial register or association register number and the competent register court
- In the case of journalistic-editorial content that can influence opinion formation: the person responsible within the meaning of the RStV or press law with full address
- For regulated professions (e.g. lawyers, doctors, tax consultants): Details of the responsible chamber, professional title and the responsible supervisory authority.
- Sales tax identification number according to § 27a UStG, if available
- Business identification number pursuant to § 139c of the German Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung), if available
When is an imprint necessary?
An imprint is necessary for all websites that are operated on a business or similar basis. In addition to commercial sites, this also includes informative websites, blogs and forums, provided they are regularly updated and have a certain reach. In addition, the imprint requirement must also be observed for social media profiles.
How should an imprint be designed?
The legal notice should be easy to find and easy to read. It is advisable to place a link to the legal notice in the main navigation or in the footer of the website. In addition, the link to the legal notice should be easily recognizable by being clearly marked as "Imprint" or "Provider identification". Furthermore, the legal notice should always be kept up to date and adapted to legal changes.