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Impressum: What is it and when do you need one

We get questions regarding the “Impressum” often, therefore we’d like to answer the most common questions here:

What is an Impressum?

An Impressum is essentially a statement of ownership and authorship. It was put into place to in an effort to protect user data, combat illegal content and spam by making website owners identify themselves, and as a result assume responsibility for the content on their platform.

Often when talking about an Impressum, people mean the German (DACH) version of compulsory information placed on a website.

Is an Impressum legally required?

The Impressum is legally required on all commercial websites published in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), whether the website is published via a .de top-level domain or not.

The point can be made that if you simply have a personal blog without ads and make no money from it, then the Impressum is not required.

The privacy policy and the Impressum

Often we are asked why we don’t add certain information necessary for the Impressum within our privacy policy. These are our answers:

  • we believe an Impressum should be a standalone page containing the information regarding the Impressum, this makes it easier to digest the information
  • if you’d like to include it, however, we make it easy for you to add. You can add all the required information under the Website owner field inside the privacy policy:
Example of an Impressum placed in owner field of the privacy policy

Please remember that whether you choose to include an Impressum in the “Website owner” field or not, the “Website owner” field must include valid identifiying information.

With that said, let’s take a look at two of the most popular questions regarding using an impressum on your site or page.

What do I put in an impressum?

Generally, an Impressum should contain the following information:

  • Name of the website owner (a business name is usually used here)
  • Registered address (please note that a PO Box – Postfach – is not considered to be a valid registered address as the owners can not typically be found there)
  • Valid contact information – phone number, fax or email address
  • If an activity needs official authorization, information about the supervising authority
  • Name of the individual legal representative (typically the owner of the website or the person managing the site)
  • VAT number or other equivalent state-issued number
  • Any additional trade registry or license numbers

Note: In the case of Germany, the Impressum is regulated inside Art. 5 TMG.

Where should I place an impressum on my website?

An Impressum should be:

  • always available
  • easily recognizable (call it “Impressum”)
  • immediately accessible

If you choose to include the Impressum information within the owner section of the privacy, you must properly link to it as “Impressum” otherwise the placement may fail to meet the “easily recognizable” and “immediately accessible” requirements. It is for this reason, again, that we believe the impressum should go on its own separate page.

Impressum for Facebook Pages

Facebook offers a way for users to add an Impressum for user-created public pages. Even though there is no uniform way Facebook page owners can use the Impressum section, they generally provide these kinds of basic information:

  • Name of the business or organization
  • Address of the organization
  • Contact information (e-mail, phone number, fax number etc.)
  • Name of the owner or manager of the page and the organization
  • Registration and license number(s)

To add an Impressum to your Facebook Page:

  1. Click About (or Page Settings with the new design) on the left side of your page
  2. Click (Edit) Page Info
  3. Find the Impressum section and add your info (the limit is 2,000 characters)
  4. Click Save Changes

Your visitors will be able to see this information when they click the “About” link below your Facebook Page’s profile (see examples below).

Privacy Policy for Facebook Pages

Unlike the Impressum, which in general is not a requirement for Facebook Pages, if you run your business on Facebook (even without a website), you need to have a privacy policy available for your customers to read. For more information:

Examples of Impressum statements

www.iubenda.de ist ein Angebot der
Iubenda GmbH
Iubendastr. 5
10178 Berlin

E-Mail: kundenservice@iubenda.de
Tel.: 030 1234567890
FAX: 030 1234567890
Geschaftsfuhrer: Iubenda Iubenda
Amtsgericht Berlin Charlottenburg, HRB 123456789 B

USt-ID-Nr: DE1234567890

Tandem‘s Impressum page is a good example of longer, but well segmented information. At the time of publishing this post it looks like this:

Impressum example - Tandem

Facebook Impressum Examples

Here is Audi’s Impressum on their Facebook page:

Impressum example - Audi Facebook page

Siemens has an Impressum on its “About” page as well:

Impressum example - Siemens Facebook page

See also