The Meaning of Impressum: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of impressum? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word impressum, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is an impressum?

According to the websites Termly, Terms Feed, and Website Policies, an impressum is a statement of facts about a certain business. This page contains information about the ownership of the company as well as contact details. Impressum is a statement of authorship and ownership that helps combat spam and disinformation. It does so by holding the creators of the website responsible for their own content. It may seem like it would only be required for a business to have an impressum section, different Germanic countries like Germany, Austria, and Switzerland also require commercial bloggers to have an impressum and provide information about their online platform to their audience. An impressum should include the following:

  •  Name of the owner/manager of the business/page
  •  Business registration information, such as register name and registration number
  •  VAT ID number or trade registry number if applicable
  •  Registered business address
  •  Contact information (e.g., phone number, e-mail address)

In Germany and other Germanic countries like Austria and Switzerland, if a website does not have a proper impressum section, some lawyers can scrutinize these websites for the information and send cease-and-desist letters if it is not properly constructed or if it is missing. The Telemedia Act in Germany, also known as the Telemediengesetz, mandates that German websites disclose information about the publisher of said website. This can include a name and address, phone number, email address, and a lot of other information that depends on the type of the company. German websites can either be published by individuals or organizations, and an impressum is required whether or not they have the .de domain. Make sure that you consult impressum resources or review the different acts for your area before creating an impressum. Facebook requires all page admins to add an impressum if you operate in Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

LinkedIn states a quick and easy way to create an impressum section on Facebook:

  1.   Click “About” on the left side of your page
  2.   Click “Page Info”
  3.   Click to edit the Impressum section and add the following information
    1.  Name of your Business or Organization
    2.  Address of the Business or Organization.
    3.  Name of the owner or manager of the page and the Business or Organization.
    4.  Business or Organization Contact information; phone number, fax number, e-mail.
    5.  Links to your Business or Organization’s official website’s Impressum page.
    6.  Registration and license number(s) for the Business or Organization.
  4.   Click “Save Changes”

What is the origin of the word impressum?

According to LinkedIn, the word impressum is a Latin word that was adopted into German. The Latin impressum comes from impressus, the perfect passive participle of imprimō. According to Word Sense, imprimō comes from imprimere, from the prefix in and the root premō meaning to press or to print. Descendants and translations of this word are below:

  •  Catalan: imprimir
  •  English: imprint, impress
  •  Franco-Provençal: emprindre, emprimar (borrowing)
  •  French: empreindre, imprimer (borrowing)
  •  Italian: imprimere
  •  German: Impressum
  •  Portuguese: imprimir
  •  Spanish: imprimir

What are synonyms for the term impressum?

There may not be any terms that mean the exact same as impressum, but an impressum page is similar to an about us page or an info page that contains a statement of the ownership of the website or authorship of a document. While the term impressum doesn’t have any legislation in English-speaking countries like it does in Germanic ones, there are similar laws and publication terms that refer to ownership or authorship disclosure. These are listed below.

  •  Masthead: This is a term that is used for newspapers and magazines. A masthead is a list that is usually found on the editorial page of a newspaper or magazine that lists the members of its board. 
  •  Colophon: This is used in books and novels, and is a note that lists the metadata about the book, such as a printer, publisher, and date of publication. 
  •  Imprint: According to both the Newspapers, Printers, and Reading Rooms Repeal Act 1869, and UK Printer’s Imprint Act 1961, a printer must put their name and address on the first or last book of every paper or book that is printed. This is an imprint.
  •  Site Notice/Legal Notice/Legal Disclosure: This is a page title used on websites that are written in English, and are commonly used to link to the terms of use and legal metadata. 

People may wonder what the difference is between an impressum and a privacy policy. While an impressum is a list of information about the business, a privacy policy is an important document that explains how and why said business collapsed, shares, and might use personal information. While only certain Germanic countries require an impressum by law, almost every company no matter where it is based needs a privacy policy. For example, in California, the California online privacy protection act requires a privacy policy. In the United Kingdom or European Union, businesses must comply with the general data protection regulation. 

Overall, the word impressum means a section on a website that contains the following information such as a VAT number, business address, telephone number, type of company, and more. A commercial website and personal website might require different basic information. A Facebook impressum on a public page is required in certain Germanic countries, but not in the United States.

Sources:

  1. What is an Impressum and Why Does Facebook Want One? | LinkedIn 
  2. imprimo‎ (Spanish, Latin, Italian): meaning, origin, definition | Word Sense 
  3. What is Impressum & Why You May Need it [Mandated by Law] | Website Policies 
  4. How to Add an Impressum to Your Facebook Page | Terms Feed. 
  5. What Is Impressum & How to Write One for Facebook | Termly