In German law every website has to have an imprint clearly stating the owner and their contact information. This is nothing I really worry about since I have already created it.

But my question is what decides which countries' laws apply to my website?
My website is running on a root server in Canada, I am German citizen, I will be using a .tk (New Zealand) domain, and the website is designed for an international audience.

I am pretty sure the domain doesn't matter at all. So which countries' laws apply to my website? If it is the Canadian law, then what do I have to do in order to stay legal?

2 Answers 2


Some of the laws of Canada, Germany, and New Zealand would apply to your situation.

  • If a German sued you in German court about your website, the court could summon you.
  • If a Canadian sued you in Canadian court, the Canadian court could seize your servers
  • If a New Zealander sued you in New Zealand court, the New Zealand court could seize your domain name.
  • Does that mean that I mostly have to worry about German law and make sure my server does not contain anything illegal in Canadian law?
    – BrainStone
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 11:34
  • 1
    German law would be your biggest worry. I'm sure your server in Canada could be seized if somebody sued you in Canada about something entirely unrelated to your website as it is your assets in Canada. Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 11:38

If the files are hosted physically in Canada it falls under Canadian law. Where visitors access the website from doesn't matter.

  • 1
    That makes sense. Do you have any good sources for rules I have to follow?
    – BrainStone
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 15:25
  • 2
    Actually, it may be more complicated than that. I say ask an attorney. For example, just being a citizen of a country may have requirements and not where it is hosted.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 15:46
  • I'm somewhat sorry to bring this question back to life. But I do not have the money to consult a attorney and therfore not the money to pay a lawsuit. So anybody really knowing what I have to do is apprechiated!
    – BrainStone
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 9:54
  • @BrainStone contact your local bar association they have attorneys working for free
    – Anagio
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 16:44
  • @Anagio I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. (English is not my first language and I don't understand what you mean with "association". It has far too many translations...) Could you explain (or give a reference) what exactly you mean?
    – BrainStone
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 16:51

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