Imprint: What shall I know about?
What is an imprint?
An imprint contains a summonable address of the owner of a website on the internet, so that legal claims against him or her can be enforced in court. The obligation to provide a so-called “provider identification” (imprint obligation) already existed before the GDPR and results from Section 5 of the German Telemedia Act (TMG) and Section 55 of the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (RStV).
The background to the imprint obligation is that the users of the site should know who they are dealing with.
Can a warning be issued for violations of the imprint obligation?
Thousands of warnings have been issued in recent years for violations of the imprint obligation. However, the case law is not uniform. Some courts are of the opinion that a missing or incomplete imprint constitutes a legal violation, such as the Düsseldorf Regional Court or the Hamm Higher Regional Court. Other courts differentiate here and assume that certain violations of the imprint regulations are not subject to a warning, for example the Hanseatic OLG and also the OLG Koblenz.
Due to the inconsistent case law, every website operator should think about whether they need an imprint and what information must be included.
Who needs an imprint?
According to IT law, more precisely according to § 5 of the Telemedia Act (TMG), an imprint is required for “business-like online services”. § Section 5 of the Telemedia Act thus focuses on whether the content, goods or services on websites are usually offered for a fee. This applies to all website operators who offer goods (online shops) or services (e.g. web hosting or software rental). They are therefore obliged to provide an imprint. There is also an imprint obligation for social media sites if the social media profile is operated on a businesslike basis.
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