Legal Notice Obligation

The obligation to provide an imprint is the obligation to provide an imprint in print products and in online publications. The imprint names, for example, the publisher and the editor. In the case of publications on the World Wide Web, this is referred to as provider identification. Likewise, the signature for e-mails in business transactions is anchored in law.

The obligation to publish an imprint is not a modern-day achievement: as early as 1530, a general imprint obligation was introduced for the first time in the book trade in the Holy Roman Empire.

The imprint obligation is not explicitly anchored in data protection legislation, but is regulated in other laws, e.g.:

  • E-Commerce Act (ECG)
  • Media Act (MedienG)
  • Trade Regulation Act (GewO). 


The imprint is the business card of a website: Who is responsible for a blog, an online shop or any other website? How can the responsible person be contacted? Contact options and disclosure of identity in the imprint are part of transparent communication and create trust.

The following information should be included in an imprint:

  • full name (first name, last name) of the website operator
  • full name of the responsible persons (e.g. members of the management)
  • for legal entities: complete company name according to the entry in the commercial register
    this also includes the UID (company identification number) and - if available - the VAT number
  • complete postal address (a P.O. Box is not sufficient)
  • eMail address
  • Telephone / fax (if still in use)

Depending on the country, other information may be required, e.g. information on capital for corporations in France and Italy.