Legal Requirements on Internet

Website publishers in France, whether they are private individuals or companies entities acting in a personal or professional capacity, are required to comply with a number of precise legal requirements.

The legal statements must appear clearly on any website. They protect web surfers, allowing them to identify and contact the one or more publishers of any website to ensure that their rights are respected.

Host

  • corporate entity,
  • address,
  • phone number.

Here is an example that can be placed on your website:

Host: this website is hosted by ALWAYSDATA, a limited liability company with its head office at 91 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, France (phone +33 1 84 16 23 40).

Companies

  • corporate entity,
  • head office address,
  • phone number,
  • name of the director of publication.

Private individuals need only provide information on the host. This information is generally already accessible via the whois system.

France’s Law for Trust in the Digital Economy of June 2004 (LCEN) plans to make available to web surfers an easily identifiable and accessible page comprising this legal information.

Publishers are liable for everything that is accessible on their website (including comments of all kinds that the publisher is required to control and moderate). They are required to implement some way (e-mail address, contact form, etc.) for visitors to report any shocking or illegal content.

Personal data

If a website records personal data (name, date of birth, address, social security number, etc.) on its members, it is required to inform the people involved when they register and it must state whether this data is optional or required, as well as how long the data is retained for. This does not generally apply to connection data (IP address, time of connection, etc.) so long as this data is only used for statistical purposes and retained for a reasonable period of time.

The website should allow people to change information relating to them (whether via a dedicated interface or simply by e-mail) and inform them of this right.

CNIL declaration

A declaration to CNIL the French National Technologies and Civil Liberties Commission when the website records personal data is no longer mandatory since GDPR came into force. Depending on your project, a data protection impact analysis may be necessary.

E-commerce

A company involved in e-commerce (whether for goods or services) is required to state, in addition to the usual legal statements, whether the prices displayed are exclusive of tax or inclusive of tax and whether shipping charges are included.

If the company is subject to VAT, then their EU VAT number must be clearly visible. Further, it is up to the company to ensure that on-line payments are secure.

E-commerce websites must make their terms of sale available in addition to the actual legal statements to show a certain amount of information specific to their e-commerce business: a display of prices, delivery lead times, conditions for withdrawing from a sale, compliance with France’s consumer protection Loi Chatel especially.