The time has come, it’s Friday – It’s #FrontendFriday
Today’s blog is about whether there is also an imprint requirement for (progressive) web apps.
With current technology, it has been possible for years for websites to be displayed accordingly on smartphones or tablets as well. For this purpose there are many technologies, which save the developer’s work and also support much.
It is common knowledge that an imprint is regularly required for a homepage.
The apps, which are available for your smartphone, are mostly also just apps, behind which the homepage is running. This means that you can open the homepage via the browser or via the app, but the content is identically the same.
Especially with regard to the imprint, app developers or. -Providers therefore note special features to escape warnings and other sanctions under competition law.
By § 5 TMG as well as § 55 RStV of the Telemediengesetz (TMG) results in the so-called "provider identification". In it the following things are to be provided:
- Name and address of the site operator.
- In the case of a legal entity, the legal form must also be indicated.
- Details of a quickly accessible and electronic contact – usually consisting of email and phone number.
- In the case of work that requires official approval, the responsible supervisory authority must be indicated.
- The register, no matter whether trade, association, partnership or cooperative register, in which the site is registered and the corresponding register number.
- In the case of information about a profession or a qualification, the chamber to which the site operator belongs and the legal designation of the profession must be indicated. In addition, the state from which the professional title and the access of the professional regulations originate.
- A sales tax identification number, if given.
- Corporations, which include, for example, stock corporations, limited liability partnerships, and business corporations, must provide liquidation and winding up disclosures.
Imprint required in the app?
While this may not seem obvious at first glance, apps regularly fall under the concept of telemedia as defined by the German Telemedia Act (TMG). Provided they make content available to the user, they are namely to be assigned to the information and communication services.
Only such Apps, which pursue purely private purposes, are not subject to the imprint obligation. On the whole, it can be said that commercial offers must clearly indicate who is offering them, and therefore an imprint is required.
How to play it safe as an app developer?
As developers or. Providers for apps or websites are always recommended to adhere to the legal standardization and judicial guidelines.
If possible, it should be prevented that the imprint is forgotten or only not completely published when an app is released. The change is made quickly, but this must additionally go through a new release for the App Store. Thus, more time is taken and may lead to a higher fine.
Whether apps or desktop websites, the imprint must be "easily recognizable, immediately accessible and constantly available". When designing the website, care must be taken to ensure that usability and user experience do not suffer and that the requirements of the German Telemedia Act are met at the same time.
On most websites, the imprint is usually found in the footer and can be easily found by scrolling down. However, on smartphones, this information may be displayed (too) small.
What happens in the event of violations?
A warning letter in this regard is understood to be a lawyer’s letter in which a legal violation is pointed out. These are by no means rare occurrences: It is the most common type of warning cases that companies and self-employed persons have to deal with who operate a website on the net or an app in an app store.
If there is a court case about the violation, the changes must be made within 1-2 weeks, otherwise there are fines of at least 1.000 euros. After the correction of the violation, however, it has not done with the subject. In addition, a cease-and-desist declaration with a penalty clause must be submitted, which is usually enclosed by the lawyer issuing the warning notice. According to § 12 UWG, the costs of the warning must also be reimbursed by the site operator.
However, there is not only an imprint obligation with Apps, but also in App Stores – without can likewise warnings follow.
An imprint is an important part of the website or app. This shows the customer the trustworthiness of a site and its provider.
Besides completeness and correctness the imprint should also be placed correctly. The consumer must be able to retrieve this in a few clicks. In addition, it should be available online as well as offline. If all these aspects are observed, nothing can go wrong with the next publication.
I hope that I could give a good insight into the obligation of an imprint for (progressive) webapps