German bureaucracy, coming to your email now

I received a mail from our legal department. I’m sure similar ones are winging their way around German companies.

With the implementation of the Electronic Commercial Register, Cooperative Society Register and Company Register Act (Gesetz über elektronische Handelsregister und Genossenschaftsregister sowie das Unternehmensregister), or EHUG, which took effect January 1, 2007, in Germany, new regulations apply to the contents of business-related e-mails.

Effective immediately, all e-mails with business content must include a supplementary text that contains the following details: legal form of the company, location of the company, applicable register court, commercial register number, and for joint-stock companies the names of all members of the  Executive Board and the chairperson of the Supervisory Board.

Any infringement to this new disclosure requirement will result in fines and may also lead to additional costs incurred from written warnings. The new regulation concerns the words and meaning of all external e-mail communications with business content. It not only applies to e-mails with obvious legal content, such as offers, orders, or notices of termination, but also to any business e-mail sent outside the company. This also applies to Blackberry mails.

This means that the footer on my email is 1099 characters long.

I wonder if there will be a new government jobtitle? Elektronischeunterzeichnungkontrollebeaftrager

Changing your signature on Outlook is a mission. (tools, customise, mailformat, signature, edit….)  also it isn’t server based, so I think you need to do it on every PC you use.

I understand that this isn’t just an odd German rule, it is also an EU Directive.

UPDATE; Dear German government please accept my apologies for singling you out, the UK has also implemented a similar law. See Naked law for details

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9 thoughts on “German bureaucracy, coming to your email now

  1. “Changing your signature on Outlook is a mission. (tools, customise, mailformat, signature, edit….) also it isn’t server based, so I think you need to do it on every PC you use.”

    Try using Plaxo, it syncs your Signature among other things (Contacts, Calendar, etc.)

  2. Drat, you beat me to blogging that ;)
    I alerted corporate security to this last week (they might have known already), so I saw that coming. Can’t see that helping any customer – all it’s good for is to generate silly lawyers notices to companies that don’t implement fast enough.
    I wonder where the liability ends – german colleagues sending email from the US, or US colleagues sending emails out of Walldorf without the correct footer – CRAZY!
    Read this for more fun:

  3. For those of you using Lotus Notes and Domino, Crossware Mail Signature will allow you to push out a standard signature and disable existing ones without going to each desktop. Visit the crossware website for a free trial.

  4. The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.

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