The internet is today an indispensable part of many areas of life, but those running commercial websites have to be mindful of the German Telemedia Act.
GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: It is essential for a lot of businesses nowadays to have a presence online with a website. This can bring with it many benefits for businesses, but also raises legal issues. If the legislation and regulations are infringed, the person operating the website may be faced with written warnings or even closure of the site.
First and foremost, the website must comply with the German Telemedia Act. This includes, inter alia, the obligation to display an imprint, countering spam, liability for illegal content and data protection. Particularly in the case of commercial websites that trade online, it is equally necessary for the cancellation policy and general terms and conditions to satisfy the requirements.
Whereas commercial websites, including a company’s main website, need to have an imprint so that readers are able to identify the provider, purely private websites are exempt from this obligation. However, the transition from private to commercial can be ambiguous in this area. The integration of advertising banners on a private website could suffice to represent a commercial use.
Infringements of the obligation to display an imprint or other provisions of the German Telemedia Act can be expensive. If, for instance, the site has to be shut down, the company concerned may suffer a substantial loss. This kind of measure is especially hard on online shops.
The legislation and regulations pertaining to the internet continue to be subject to constant change. This makes it all the more difficult for laymen to stay on top of things. In order to obtain legal certainty, the operators of commercial websites should seek the expert support of lawyers who are experienced in the field of IT law, as it is frequently not merely the German Telemedia Act that needs to be observed but also related fields of law. This especially includes data protection law, copyright law, trademark law and competition law. Legal disputes can be costly and time-consuming for businesses. They can be prevented in advance with the help of competent legal advice.