Legal stuff

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Legal stuff

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Oct 21, 2006, 3:11pm

IANAL (yet ;-) but it seems to me that - selling goods in Germany with a .de domain - doesn't meet the (many & specific) German legal requirements.


You should probably take care of that sometime soon, as some german lawyers like to send out cease-and-desist letters...

Maybe someone here knows more about "Impressumspflicht" for non-EU sites?

Edited: Oct 21, 2006, 5:24pm

Oh, great! We'll look at it...

To get on my soap-box for a moment, what the hell is wrong with Europe? Getting an internet domain in a European country requires jumping through all kinds of hoops, and they're different in every country. In every country we've looked at—except Germany—we need a "local presence." Fortunately, Abe can be our local presence, but if we didn't have that investment we'd be completely out of luck. And who exactly does this protect? Do French people trust sites more because someone has filled out a form listing an address within the territory of the Republic?

And why are they so much more expensive to buy? It's getting cheaper and cheaper to create a web business. Increased computing power and open source are the real cost savers, but domain costs also figure. In the US domains are nearly free, and the opportunity cost--the "bother cost"--is trivial. Companies like LibraryThing start from nothing and create value. We aren't even taking customers from someone else--nobody was going it for profit before! We created four jobs like magic from nothing. Why would Europe want to make this harder?

Okay, I'll stop ranting. Oh, and don't get me started on speech laws.

Oct 22, 2006, 5:18am

As far as I know (but I'm not sure), having a "local presence" will ensure that if it comes to a lawsuit they may charge you according to the respective European law instead of having to deal with any other law. But as I said, I'm not really sure about that.

About the domains: I don't think that they think as far (not that the domain providers are interested in national economic growth...) I suppose it's just the law of supply and demand, perhaps mixed with some informal agreements, who knows...

Oct 22, 2006, 8:27am

Domain issuers are unfortunately temporary monopolists. The smaller the country, the higher the charge (You get 5 .de domains for 1 .at or .ch). Europe should have created larger units at a lower cost to the customer.

Local presence originates in consumer law and should facilitate contact with the producer. Complaining across borders is expensive (language, phone calls, postage etc.) and often unenforceable. Thus, a local point of contact is beneficial (but not geared to web services).

The lower US regulatory environment for general business is paid by an enormous amount of litigation and the world's largest concentration of lawyers. Europe employs bureaucrats, the US lawyers.

Oct 22, 2006, 9:59am

Re: Europe employs bureaucrats, the US lawyers. That's true, and something I haven't seen expressed in such clear terms. In the US, the answer to a lot of issues is to let the legal system sort it out.