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What are the mandatory legal notices on the Internet in France?

5 Mar 2019

Whether or not you sell products online, being present on the web for your professional activity requires compliance with a certain number of mandatory legal notices.

The Internet offers immense freedom, but ignoring the responsibility you have towards your Internet users can be costly. Here are our tips on how to comply with the French law and protect your data on the Internet.

What are the mandatory information on a website?

The Law for Confidence in the Digital Economy (LCEN) of 2004 provides, to protect users of web pages or to contact publishers, that the following mandatory information be included on the Internet:

  • The identity of the entrepreneur and the name of the company’s corporate name;
  • The contact details of the company’s head office;
  • A contact email address and a telephone number;
  • The registration number in the Trade and Companies Register (RCS) or the Trade Register (RM);
  • The intra-community VAT number;
  • References to the professional rules applicable and to the professional title in the context of a regulated profession;
  • The contact details of the site host (identity, address, telephone number of the host);
  • The General Terms and Conditions of Sale (GTC);
  • The Declaration number of the french Commission Nationale Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL);
  • The law applicable in the event of a dispute;
  • A disclaimer of liability clause;
  • The use of cookies and tracking devices (allowing the collection of personal data);
  • Information on your partnerships (affiliation service);
  • Allow people who register on your site using their contact information to contact you to change or delete this information.

Are you in line with the DGMP? To know more about it

What are your responsibilities when you run a website?

There are many mandatory mentions on a website. Any failure to comply with any of them may result in a maximum penalty of one year’s imprisonment, a fine of €75,000 for individuals and €370,000 for legal entities. So I might as well tell you, that stalling is not allowed!

Unfortunately, on the Internet the art of determining who is responsible is a complex exercise.

There are two types of liability:

  • The general responsibility of the website publisher. That is, the person whose activity is to edit an online public communication service (bloggers are considered as editors).

The publisher, also known as Publishing Director, is responsible for the content on his website (text, photos, videos), and can be declared responsible for the content he publishes, but also for the comments of his community.

It is therefore your responsibility to check the content before it is published.

  • The specific responsibility that concerns:
    • The host or storage provider: a legal or natural person who stores the information of a website. He has no control over the content. Its liability is therefore limited. He will be held liable in the event that he has been informed of illegal content on the platform he hosts without having removed it.
    • The Internet service provider: no monitoring obligation, only to inform users about the technical means of access or data storage. If he does not comply with these obligations, he may be held liable.
    • The online merchant: the LCEN and the consumer code provide for specific mentions for e-commerce activities under penalty of liability.
    • The subscriber: he must take security measures and prevent the use of his Internet connection for illegal purposes.

What kind of content is prohibited on the Internet?

The content published on a website is not completely free. It is forbidden to distribute content with such orientations:

  • Racists, inciting hatred, violence, crime, misdemeanours, suicide;
  • Involving minors in illegal acts;
  • Involving breaches of privacy;
  • Counterfeit brands;
  • Using elements that do not belong to you (images, videos, texts);
  • Etc.

Your blog generates comments in French and written in other languages? Is your Facebook page attracting the interest of your community abroad? Make sure that this content complies with the law. Your legal translation agency can help you do that.

How to report illegal content on a website?

There are two procedures for removing content from your website:

  • The non-judicial procedure which consists in requesting the removal of content from its host.
  • The judicial procedure which consists in asking the author of the content to remove it beforehand. In case of failure, you will have to contact its host and initiate a specific procedure with a lawyer.

The police and gendarmerie may also register your complaint.

The mandatory information on a website is designed to protect you and your visitors. By complying with these obligations, you comply with the law and gain credibility with your customers. International, your translation agency specialized in legal translation can assist you in meeting your obligations. In France and abroad, show your professionalism to your customers. Don’t make any mistakes, check now that you are compliant to the French law!