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Defining where a website is based legally

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by danclarkie, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    Hi first post please be kind.
    :help:
    So I run some websites and one is in Germany, German law says you need to give an address and such on the site.
    How would you define that a site is legally based in Germany?

    Wiki says
    German websites are defined as being published by individuals or organisations that are based in Germany

    I am the sole publisher and I am not based in Germany, it is however a .de domain and the who-is shows its physically hosted in Germany.
    Any quick response would be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers!
     
  2. Grizzy

    Grizzy Senior Member

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    The wiki definition is kind of confusing, but if the server that your website sits on is in Germany, then I would think it's safe to say that you will need to put an address on it to be in compliance with German law.
     
  3. businessminder

    businessminder BANNED BANNED

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    I think you just have to have a physical contact address and phone number to register a .de domain.

    It's like buying .ca domains where you have to provide a canadian address and phone number to register for it.

    I think there are places that allow you to register for foreign TLDs but I haven't tried that. I know a couple of people who do that.

    But anyways, once when you have the domain registered it's yours. you can point it to any other web hosting servers.
     
  4. hardcore1

    hardcore1 Junior Member

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    Geographic location of the server is the location of the site, German server, german law.
     
  5. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    It's because the situation is that I did live in Germany and registered the domain at my German address.
    I moved back to the UK and today the new guy in my old German flat got a letter from a lawyer for a big bill owing that the site has no impressum.

    Not fully compus mentus I took the whole site down so there is now nothing there. However I guess the Lawyers will still come after me for the bill.

    I know I have nobody to blame but myself but any advice would be appreciated.:confused:
     
  6. CEPI

    CEPI Power Member

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    It is possible for individuals or institutions not located in Germany to register .de domains. There is, however, a condition, namely that they must appoint an administrative contact who is resident in Germany and who has a postal address at which it is possible to serve documents (i.e. not a P.O. box). The administrative contact is then also the person formally authorized by the domain holder to receive service of official or court documents within the meaning of the German Code of Civil Procedure and the German Code of Criminal Procedure. The reason for this measure is to ensure that if any party has a legal claim to pursue, it is not made more difficult for them by having to serve official or court documents in another country, which is often a long, drawn-out process.


    So basically if you have a registered DE name then you have technically authorized your hosting company to accept legal documents as the administrative contact. Just put their address and allow them to receive documents. Obviously if you break the law, and they have German police at their door, they will just shut off your hosting at that point or contact you directly to handle the issue.

    Best advice I could give you, but I'm sure a lawyer well versed in .de law could better assist.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    Thanks for the reply, the lawyers say they got my details from the denic and I am therefore very likely to be responsible for the site. The details were correct at time of registering the domain and I personally am still the point of contact but I don't have a German address anymore.
    Perhaps if I accept to close the site and sell on the .de domain to someone with a German address they would accept that?

    also with re hosting how could they prove it was hosted in DE? I would guess they contact the hosting company and they would spill the beans.
     
  8. CEPI

    CEPI Power Member

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    Yes under court subpoena you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with tight lips.
     
  9. appleman

    appleman Regular Member

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    im a little confused here but if they are giving you a hard time becuase of the address etc.. register whois proof (not sure who other domains work besides the reg).... you can always rent an address in the location...as that is what privacy protection does when they enter in info for you.
     
  10. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    I guess i will write them a letter in English explaining I am in the UK and misunderstood / (ask them to accept the definition is not clear) as to whether I needed an impressum. I have deleted the site as an act of good will (not accepting guilt) and tell them to send any further corrispondence to me in the UK. :blackeye:
     
  11. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    I was kind of renting an address in the location in that its an old address hahaha!
     
  12. appleman

    appleman Regular Member

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    yes so what are they giving you a hard time for? your address?

    I am sure you can get a quick mail drop if you really needed to show proof.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  13. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    Basically a competitor,via lawyers want a fine for over €400 to cover the lawyers costs, for the fact my website didn't show an impressum which stated the ownership address and contact details which is needed in german law, but not in UK law.

    Hopefully clouding the waters enough by writing them from the UK will be enough to stall things until i work out what to do.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  14. appleman

    appleman Regular Member

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    I would add an address to the bottom thats legit.
    and ignore them from now on. since when did a lawyer become the epolice?
    How much could the cost of a lawyer be to take a look at a website and see theres no address at the bottom?

    Ideally they would contact the domain registar and close your domain down. They dont need to talk to you about it and arent getting any money.
    either way its a bullshit scare IMO
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  15. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    might 301 the domain to a video about ww2 on youtube or a similar wiki article.
    Could be a bit provocative though
     
  16. markmaster

    markmaster Registered Member

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    I know a bit about this because i have experienced similar issues here in germany, also a friend of me is a lawyer and he is doing exactly this evil stuff :(

    It is very simple, it depends on the content... If it is/was a private non commercial website, you dont have to publish your address on it and the fee of the lawyers could be easily ignored.

    If it was a commercial website , running on a german server (it would fall under german law then, only domain would not be enough i guess..) it would have needed a link which is accessible from all parts of the website which is called: "impressum" or "Kontakt" and should contain all business informations including business registration number (from german court) and so on... If it was just some private homepage, or they can not prove anymore you are lucky :)

    hope this helps
     
  17. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    Hi thanks for that, could you define what would make it commercial? It was an autoblog with adsense and amazon affiliate links i was not a registered company in germany and had no german umsatzsteuernummer. It did look proffesional though! I guess the ads and amazon aff make it commercial?


    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  18. markmaster

    markmaster Registered Member

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  19. danclarkie

    danclarkie Newbie

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    Bollocks, so your advice would be? Pay? I'm tempted to pay as i hate the stress :(

    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  20. markmaster

    markmaster Registered Member

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    Sorry, i am also not really sure. But maybe it could be an idea, to find out how detailed they could prove that the website was made in a business purpose. Because if they can not prove it before court it would be even hard for them to justify the case against you and they would probably have to pay the costs of the whole lawsuit. Most of these internet lawyers will not even risk going to court. One reason is, they have to charge you at the place of your business, and if they are located in another place it would also be much pre-investment needed (for example travel cost) which they would have to pay by themself if they loose the case...

    So if you know they got nothing on you, you would be in a much better position to make them clear it could be a huge loss for them if they go the hard way. But then i would also stay on alert, and would be ready to pay the fee (on time), in case it gets ugly.

    But these are just my experiences, based on previous business and relations to officials (i hate the system).