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Electronic marketing and internet use

Electronic marketing
Are there rules specifically governing unsolicited electronic marketing (spam)?

Yes. In principle, promotional emails are permitted only if the intended recipient agrees beforehand to receive such emails (Section 7 of the Act against Unfair Competition). This applies to both entrepreneurs and consumers. Exceptions are limited to narrow circumstances (see Section 7(3), 1-4 of the Act against Unfair Competition).

If the recipient has not given his or her express consent to receive promotional emails, he or she can request the sender to desist pursuant to Sections 823(1) and 1004(1) of the Civil Code. Moreover, competitors of the sender may request that the sender desist pursuant to Section 8(1) of the Act against Unfair Competition.

Cookies
Are there rules governing the use of cookies?

Yes – the Telemedia Act entered into force on March 1 2007. However, the EU Cookie Directive (2009/136/EC) has not yet been formally implemented into German law. The government maintains that the existing legislation is sufficient to comply with the directive – in particular, Sections 13(1) and 15(3) of the Telemedia Act.

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