The Imprint Obligation: The Legal Must for Your Website

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Are you a company that offers goods or services online or operates a public company website? Then you are generally obliged to provide an imprint on your website.

The legislator has introduced the obligation to provide an imprint so that users know which provider they are dealing with.

Are you unsure which information should be included in the imprint? Digital Foundation helps you to get an overview of all mandatory information so that you can present a legally complete imprint on your website.

What Is an Imprint?

If you operate a website that serves a business purpose, for example as a provider of goods or services via a website, you must provide certain information about your identity. You provide this information in the imprint. The imprint serves to provide transparency for website users. They should have the possibility to check your seriousness as easily and barrier-free as possible, to contact you or to make legal claims against you.

The legislator regulates this obligation in the Telemedia Act (TMG).

Who Is Subject to the Imprint Obligation?

All website providers who pursue a business purpose with their platform are generally subject to the imprint obligation. However, if you use your website exclusively for private purposes, you are not subject to this obligation. This is the case, for example, if your website is only aimed at your friends or family.

Paragraph 5 of the German Telemedia Act (TMG) states that the obligation to provide an imprint exists "for business telemedia generally offered for a fee" on your website. In practice, this means that even a privately used page that displays advertisements with which money is earned can justify an imprint obligation.

So be careful: It is enough if you can earn money on the market with the service offered on the platform.

Here you will find a non-exhaustive list of examples of online companies and formats that are subject to the imprint obligation:

  • online stores
  • search engines
  • providers of products and services
  • accounts in social networks (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) if the account is used commercially (promotion of products, job advertisements, work as an influencer).

What Must the Imprint Contain?

The following information is regarded as minimum information in the imprint according to § 5 I TMG:


In the case of natural persons, the first name and surname must be stated. In the case of companies (so-called legal persons), the complete company name and the surname and first name of the authorised representative must be listed.

The Legal Form

In the case of legal persons, the legal form must be stated. This can be any legal form, e.g. GmbH or AG.

The Address

The address at which the legal/natural person is established. This includes town, street, house number, postcode. Simply stating a post office box is not sufficient.

Information for Rapid Electronic Contact

This contact must allow immediate and direct contact. For this purpose, the address of the electronic mail is also indicated. As a rule, the e-mail address and telephone number are given for this purpose. It is particularly important that two possibilities of immediate and direct contact are given.

Information on Share Capital

If share capital is to be paid up, details of the company's capital (share capital) must be given and, if not all of it has been paid up in money, the total amount of outstanding contributions.

Value Added Tax or Business Tax Identification Number

This is given if available for your company.

Commercial, Association, Partnership, Company or Cooperative Register With Register Number

These are indicated insofar as they are available for your company.

In addition, there are details that must be listed for special business fields or occupational groups:

Information on the Competent Supervisory Authority

Certain occupational groups (brokers, catering businesses or insurance companies) to which a competent supervisory authority is assigned must indicate it.

The website and the address of the authority are mentioned. In the event of a breach of a professional duty by the operator, consumers can contact the relevant authority.

Indication of the Competent Chamber and Indication of the Professional Title, Indication of the State

Regulated professions (lawyers, tax advisors, notaries etc.) must indicate the competent chamber, their professional title, the state in which the professional title was awarded and the regulation governing their profession and where this regulation can be found.

Specification of a Responsible Person for Journalistic/Editorial Content

In the case of journalistic/editorial content, the name and address of the person responsible must be stated (usually, in the case of newspapers, the managing directors and editors-in-chief).

Link to the Online Dispute Resolution Platform

If goods or services are offered, a link to the online dispute resolution platform must be provided for the consumer.

Information on the Consumer Arbitration Board

The business must inform consumers whether it is willing or obliged to participate in a consumer arbitration procedure. If this is the case, the competent consumer arbitration board must be listed with its contact details (address and website). This information does not necessarily have to be located in the imprint and can also appear in an easily accessible place on the website.

Where Must the Imprint Be Visible?

The Telemedia Act states that the imprint must be "easily recognisable, directly accessible and permanently available". The unambiguousness and transparency of your identity data is central to the placement of your imprint on the company website, so that your users also enjoy legal certainty.

As a provider, you can make your imprint accessible via a link on your website. Provided that the link is clearly visible and can be accessed from any page, this satisfies the legal requirements.

Give your link a clear name ("Imprint") so that your users understand what is behind the link. Above all, make sure that your imprint data is not just hidden in your General Terms and Conditions. This would not meet the legal requirements.

What Happens if the Imprint Is Missing?

If you violate the obligation to provide an imprint, even though you are required to do so by law, this is a violation of competition law. You can be fined up to 50,000 euros. In addition, claims for injunctive relief can be justified, which can be enforced through warnings with costs.

Digitale Gründung supports you in developing your imprint so that you can present your company on the Internet in a legally secure and reputable manner.


If your company offers goods or services online, you are generally obliged to provide an imprint on your website. The imprint provides information about you as a provider so that your customers have an overview of your identity. This is intended to create legal certainty and transparency. The legislator regulates this obligation in the Telemedia Act (TMG). This obligation includes a list of details that you as the provider are obliged to clearly display on your website. An incorrect imprint can constitute a breach of competition law and result in fines.

Michelle Noss

Michelle Noss

Student of Law

Michelle Noss is a law student at the University of Cologne. She is part of the German-French double degree programme and completed a Bachelor of Law in Cologne and a Master in Paris at the Sorbonne. She is particularly interested in international issues and commercial law. Since last October, Michelle Noss has been working as a writer at MAP Rechtsanwälte and supports the firm in writing legal blog articles and topics related to digital foundation.

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