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Author Topic: German Website Laws!  (Read 941 times)
Gans
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« on: June 09, 2023 @394.35 »

~Admins note: This thread has been split from another topic because it seems to be a unique and useful discussion for some members!

A little note on German web laws... you actually have to put your real adress on your website it says. I refuse to do that. No consequences so far. All I can do is hoping, that my site will stay in the shadows and only be discovered by people who have their heart at the right place. I think if I say: "Oh, it's all personal documentation and for a couple of friends! All the informations aren't meant to be public.", that should get me through. Or I just have to avoid becoming popular (easy task!).
« Last Edit: June 09, 2023 @696.23 by Melooon » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2023 @527.04 »

A little note on German web laws... you actually have to put your real adress on your website it says. I refuse to do that. No consequences so far. All I can do is hoping, that my site will stay in the shadows and only be discovered by people who have their heart at the right place. I think if I say: "Oh, it's all personal documentation and for a couple of friends! All the informations aren't meant to be public.", that should get me through. Or I just have to avoid becoming popular (easy task!).

You only have to do this if you sell goods or services or earn money with this website/account, which is why people who earn money through their online presence put their legal notice (Impressum) in their Instagram bios and other socials if they are German. If you don't earn money or sell anything through your website, you don't have to include it.
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2023 @527.45 »

Fears:
A little note on German web laws... you actually have to put your real adress on your website it says. I refuse to do that. No consequences so far. All I can do is hoping, that my site will stay in the shadows and only be discovered by people who have their heart at the right place. I think if I say: "Oh, it's all personal documentation and for a couple of friends! All the informations aren't meant to be public.", that should get me through. Or I just have to avoid becoming popular (easy task!).


Yea I've heard about that before. that's.. scary actually. I myself don't have and also don't want to put my address on my webpage. I mean.. this is clearly a big privacy and safety issue. It's a private address where I live, eat and sleep. I doubt anyone would want to expose that, unless you have a separate public space you operate from. I don't want to dox myself lol. I get why this law exists, but for very personal tiny websites it just shouldn't be a thing... (yes, I sell art on my website, paypal also shows my legal name, but I don't want to openly expose that sensitive information to every single soul who visits my webpage. when payment is done, this is necessary and completely understandable. But I only sell digital goods and don't ship. not sure if the client even sees my address, I cant see theirs either)

~Admins note: removed message related to the thread this post was split from - please repost in the other thread!
« Last Edit: June 09, 2023 @696.77 by Melooon » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2023 @537.63 »

@Skykristal super understandable and a tough spot to be in. If it brings you any solace or could come handy in the future: generally the address just has to be "ladungsfähig", which means that letters need to be able to reach you and it has to be clear how this can be done. A postbox is not enough, but what is allowed is that if you have anyone in your network who has a company and would forward any potential letters to you, you can (with their consent) use their company address with "c/o <your name>" in the address. This still shows your full name, so not ideal, but you can avoid leaking your address. This is not legal advice though, and you might still need to consult someone.
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2023 @581.42 »

@shevek yep, and that is completely understandable, just tricky when you don't really have any of this available. I might look into it a bit more, or just try to stay as unknown as possible. I actually haven't seen a single website so far from small people (also located in germany just like me) with their whole address shown who have a commissions section (which is what I have too) on their site...
I mean people do art commissions everywhere and anywhere. social platforms and so on. And nobody has their whole address shown. I only see this on big influencers, YouTubers, big artists etc. And with big I mean thousands, millions. Or perhaps nobody is actually aware which is why it's rarely there.
 
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2023 @693.45 »

Thank you for the replies @shevek and @Skykristal. Now that you mention it, indeed, some personal ".de" websites are missing the owner's adress. However some blogs without any commercial interest have the real adress. "Panic" informations made those blog writers share their adress? The problem seems to be German indeed.

Let's hope the lawers are too busy with other things than hunting small websites. Good luck @Skykristal.
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2023 @795.17 »

However some blogs without any commercial interest have the real adress.

Yeah, I think some people are better safe than sorry, especially because affiliate links also count, and some Amazon affiliate links may be on there in a blog post or two. And to describe it in an easy way: if the blog is professional and is "redaktionell" or could be influencing people's opinions (not as a social media influencer, but in a newspaper-y way; not personal blogs) they need it too.

Let's hope the lawers are too busy with other things than hunting small websites. Good luck @Skykristal.

This is sadly the top case of law firms who only make their money through sending warning letters (Abmahnungen). They spend all their time searching for websites who lack the legal notice or have an incomplete one because it's extremely easy money. It's predatory, but they are legally in the right to do so. Be careful. These are usually at least 500 in initial fees and even more before court, plus lawyer costs.

Others have attempted to circumvent that by letting friends based outside of Germany host the website and the actual owner is presented as someone who just posts entries onto the site or whatever, like a freelancer. How well that holds up in court I can't say.


@shevek
I mean people do art commissions everywhere and anywhere. social platforms and so on. And nobody has their whole address shown. I only see this on big influencers, YouTubers, big artists etc. And with big I mean thousands, millions. Or perhaps nobody is actually aware which is why it's rarely there.
Yes, I think it gives small creators in Germany a disadvantage and it doesn't mesh well with privacy laws, even though this is partially based on the GDPR too, not just the TMG. It seems like the best way to be compliant is to doxx yourself or already be big and earning enough to afford creating a company for your business and renting an office for this company so you'll have an address. Some just give the address of their lawyer as a c/o, but I don't think small creators are anywhere near the range of having "their" lawyer. And it costs, too, of course. Costs other artists outside of Germany may not have. I think it's very easy to see what people online do and recreate it without paying attention to what you in your country have to do to be legally compliant, so there are lots of people who don't know any better. Not to mention that this country sucks with capturing the realities of the internet in their laws. It hasn't done a good job in teaching what applies to the net and what doesn't.

« Last Edit: June 09, 2023 @808.75 by shevek » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2023 @887.52 »

Kinda off-topic but reminds me of my cousin who everytime he had to input his "real address" (in a totally unnecessary way, I'm not saying stuff like shopping or billing addresses, I'm talking stuff like Facebook) he'd put things like "Lollipop Street 12, Candyland"  :grin:
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2023 @361.77 »

One underground blog writer tries something interesting. He decleares himself as a hobo, living on the street. So no fixed adress. His website has an adress however, but that's the adress of some rather unrelated looking club ("Verein") of a friend hosting it.

What about artists forming a collective?
I just remembered this video: https://media.ccc.de/v/rc3-2021-r3s-432-wirtschaft-neu-gedacht-die-wtf-kooperative-eg
about a collective of computer specialists organising them in a collective.
At 43:18, they speak about having an "adress service". If you're part of the collective, you can use their adress for contact. Do these collectives exist in the art world for small people doing a couple of commissions?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2023 @364.32 by Gans » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2023 @781.53 »

You only need an "Impressum" if you perform journalistic activity. Unfortunately, that term has been used in courts to mean any "content meant to sway the opinion of the reader", so... anything, really.

People have been sued for that kind of thing in Germany even just for having a personal website.
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2023 @786.76 »

I've never heard of such a law... Now I'm wondering if there's something like that in my country...

I'm curious, does that apply to all websites or just the self-hosted ones? It makes no sense to expect everyone to put their personal information out there like that.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2023 @788.81 »

I've never heard of such a law... Now I'm wondering if there's something like that in my country...

I'm curious, does that apply to all websites or just the self-hosted ones? It makes no sense to expect everyone to put their personal information out there like that.

As said above, applies to all sites, which is why German influencers and internet personalities who make money off their activities have their Impressum (or a link to it, together with Privacy Notices etc.) in their Twitter/YouTube/Instagram/FB bio :smile:
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2023 @999.72 »

⚑ Moderators Note ⚑
Posts after this have been split off and held for moderation as they went quite off-topic and outside the fair scope of this forum - However I will note it did seem like a good discussion to have for those involved, however perhaps one that should happen via an e-mail group or a more personal space.

Feel free to continue to add new posts (on topic ones) after this!
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2023 @767.75 »

Hello fellow german humans.

Back when we went online I did the bite into the sour apple and set online an "Impressum". Until now the only consequence of this was the reception of a most charming fan letter (no irony here).
I can - however - fully understand anyone who feels insecure about putting their address online; I'm still not overly happy about doing it myself.

The fact that the "Impressumspflicht" is uncomfortable for small website hosts and political minorities is no accident: If those who decided didn't do this by design, they at least welcomed it - no government we had was especially fond of root movements or LGBTI/human rights.

Imho it is important to note that complaining here won't change much. If you want to change things, maybe it would be best to try to connect to some NGOs or political foundations. Maybe the CCC or the Rosalux might help out here if we contact them?
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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2023 @795.35 »

I vote for disobedience. Refusing to do so and see what happens. All buerocrats busy?
My hero runs a little, but moderately visited website, as he makes useful programs, that are used by probably thousands of people. No address on that site since many years. If this guy wouldn't be still there, I probably would have canned every plan about setting up a website.

At least it only shows, that there is lots of human work (or non-work as it looks like) behind the scenes of the all-powerful computerised internet. No algorithm has detected us yet...

Just noticed, that my favourite audio play creator uses an anonymizer service. A mailbox, which can be put in place of the personal address. 1,50 Euro per month. Looks secure: https://autorenglück.de/.

Another solution would be to dump the concept of borders in the online world alltogether and host the website somewhere else. Who knows where the Neocities sites are run from? Or just get one of these fancy new top-level domains (.biz, .info, .yoga) and write in English only.
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