In this short gripe post I would like to let off steam It’s about the imprint obligation for websites and social media on the Internet. Lately I have been dealing with it again resp. have to deal with, but more about that in a moment ^^
On the subject of imprint obligation, I first briefly quote the page eRecht24:
Every website needs an imprint. Well, not every page. But estimated 90% of all websites and blogs are subject to the imprint obligation according to TMG, also called provider identification. Imprint violations are for years one of the Abmahnklassiker on the net.
Basically, every user who presents content on his website and makes it available to the public – i.e. not password-protected – is obliged to do so obligated to provide an imprint. In the case of social media profiles, after all, only commercial users are affected, i.e. those who act with the intention of making a profit. This concerns me in this case also, because I put advertising in front of the videos. So: I can’t get around an imprint ^^ But that’s not bad in itself.
The only problem is the following: An imprint must Name and address of the operator contain. It must be a summonable address – not a post office box, but an address where someone receives mail, so that it is guaranteed to reach the operator.
Someone must be responsible – and that is actually a good thing
Here it is, be able to reach the person responsible, if she has somehow messed up. That makes sense in a way: everybody can shoot a buck, even without meaning to. It happened to me once: I made a screenshot of the intro text of a news page plus article image and uploaded it here to write about the article. The article image in the screenshot was copyrighted, and my assumption that it is allowed, because it was only a screenshot and the image was not prominent on it, was wrong.
Therefore I received for the first time in the long lifetime of my websites – after all meanwhile 18 years! – actually entitled mail to my summonable address. The fact that I received the same letter at the same time also by Mail and thus in my case no postal address was necessary, is then also no matter, law is law – and basically that is also correct. Without imprint would not be finally evident, who makes his intellectual effusions available on the Internet, and it’s good to be able to take action in case of need.
Playing fast and loose with the address – and that’s pretty uncool
The whole system works only unfortunately not as thought. Those who intentionally post false/criminal conspiracy theories or stolen pictures or texts online can protect themselves and hide behind pseudonyms and false addresses, or best of all in a diffuse foreign country.
And vice versa: Above in the quotation it is already written – the love Warning trap. By the indication of a genuine, liable person and its address can Abmahnanwalte their mischief drive. Their business model is based on looking for errors in the imprint or in the data protection information and sending out warning letters.
Well, with small operators like me the chance to become a target of such a thing is rather small. But because the imprint obligation exists and also because I stand by my content here on the website, I have given my address and the corresponding phone number for years as required. And this is mine Private address and my private number. On the Internet. Publicly.
For the first time I felt a bit queasy when years ago a user of my website was sent a warning letter called at my home and asking me questions about a software about which I had written a review here in the Pleiadium. Whether the software can also do this and that and how it can best be configured. I found this unbelievably wrong. For such a thing the imprint is not there!
The years passed and again and again stories came to my ears about very unpleasant events in connection with the private address, which somehow becomes public. If a person is in the public interest, there are always people who overshoot their target and cannot keep their distance. This goes from Ordering pizza under a false name to the address of the person concerned via "SWAT-ing" (making a false emergency call and calling the police or the police department). Sending SWAT to a livestreamer’s apartment to see what was happening live online) to stalking and real threats.
No, you don’t want to have your private address in the internet. But so far I had – simply because I thought, I am such a small operator, nothing will happen. For almost a year, however, I had a tab in my browser with a Provider of chargeable addresses open – there one can rent quasi an address, which can be indicated in the imprint. So far I was however always too stingy for the approx. 10 € in the month.
It can happen to anyone!
Until last week. I had arranged to go gambling with two people I had met via YouTube to make a Let’s Play. But the second one did not show up at first. Slowly, information leaked out about what was going on: someone had Private address of the gambler found out and not only to share online, but also to go through the whole program with pizza and drug orders. The whole evening the delivery services rang at the door of the person and wanted to deliver goods by cash on delivery.
And this person is not a person with millions of subscribers, but someone like you and me. The idea is appalling and very scaryYou are doing a livestream, someone asks publicly in the chat, how is the weather in street X of city Y – your address?. Just to see your reaction to it. And shortly after that the bell with first deliveries… The person concerned joined the game later and reported how then a certain fear in all bones sits. Of course you can file a complaint against an unknown person, but it is unlikely that the perpetrator will be found.
That there’s someone sitting out there one is not well-disposed and knows where one lives – not funny at all.
I can only speak of luck that nothing has happened with me so far – although my address was even publicly available. The gambler’s not, he had already given an alternative address as imprint before, so he didn’t even know where the attacker could have got the real address from.
On the same evening anyway I then also rent myself a chargeable address. Of course, this requires a postal power of attorney and identity check, but at least now not everyone can immediately see where I live.
In the quandary between the chairs
And exactly here lies the problem. Pure private operators do not have to provide an address and businesses have their company address. But what about everyone in between? Who are not really private, like me, but also do not have a corporate address? Small site operators, small YouTuber, artists, solo self-employed – all those who work from home on their own responsibility and thus theoretically have to provide their private address.
The address provider I’ve registered with now still offers the address quite cheaply for just under ten euros a month, but that’s still a Issue that sours, when I look at them subjectively. With my freelance activity I do not make the large money, ten euro monthly fall on and/or. are to be deducted from the already meager profit.
And it is almost one Mandatory. I have to give an address, but don’t want to give my private address for it and have no other alternative, so I have to pay the amount grudgingly. If I had already done this in the last 18 years since my first own website, it would roughly add up to 2000 € in total. Only for the fact that an address is in the imprint. An address that has only really been used once.
This is what is eating at me a bit these days and what I wanted to report about here
In my opinion, it is basically good and right to name responsible persons and make them reachable. But not to have, as a small operator, the choice between giving the private address or a paid provider. Would it not also go, itself as an operator in a to be registered in the state register and, as with a box number announcement, about it in the case of the cases for Kanzleien or other entitled to be attainable?
So, now imagine some grumbling on my part, leave a comment and otherwise have a nice day