Documentation

Impressum: What is it and when is it needed

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

What exactly 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 it 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 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 owner field or not, the owner field must include valid identifiying information.

What information should the Impressum contain

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

Elements:

  • Name of the website owner (a business name is usually used here)
  • Registered address*
  • 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

*Attention: A PO Box (Postfach) is not considered to be a valid registered address as the owners can not typically be found there.

Where the Impressum needs to be

An Impressum should be

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

*Attention: 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.

Example Impressum

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

Other online examples:

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:

Screenshot of Tandem's Impressum page

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