Articles on: Legal Policies

Impressum: What is it and when do you need one?

What is an Impressum?

In German-speaking countries like Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, an Impressum, also known as an "Imprint," is a mandatory declaration that provides information about the owner of a commercial website. The purpose of an Impressum is to facilitate the identification of the legal entity responsible for the published content and material, making it easy for individuals to access this information.

In essence, an Impressum is a declaration of ownership and authorship. It was implemented in an effort to safeguard user data, and stop spam and unlawful content by requiring website owners to identify themselves and so take ownership of the information on their platform.

Frequently, when people refer to an Impressum, they mean the German (DACH) version of the legal disclosures posted online.

Is an Impressum legally required?

Regardless of whether the store is published using the .de top-level domain or not, the Impressum is legally obligatory on all commercial websites published in German-speaking nations (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland).

What do I put in an Impressum page?

Generally, an Impressum should contain the following information:

Name of the store 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 page on my store?

An Impressum should be:

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

The placement may not satisfy the standards for "clearly recognizable" and "immediately accessible" if you decide to include the Impressum information in the owner portion of the privacy. Again, this is the reason why we think the Impressum should be a separate page on your store.

Example of Impressum statements

Südwestdeutsche Medienholding GmbH, a German media company, shares its contact info in its Impressum, in addition to the company's copyright and image rights information and a link to the EU's online dispute resolution platform:

Updated on: 29/03/2023

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