General terms and conditions for the use of

Status as of: 26. January 2016

““ is the name of the service provided by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) which shall be the contractual object here. It has been developed and built up by the PATONGO-consortium (which consists of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the Fernuniversität Hagen (a distance- teaching university) and the Department for Knowledge Media in Tübingen).

Recital clause

With the registration as a user at you accept the following general terms and conditions for the use of (the general terms and conditions will be abbreviated as “AGB” and referred to as “AGB” in this document).

All webpages of, which provide the services of will be referred to as the “” – web-pages in this document.

These AGB regulate the contractual relationship between the user and, no matter   which page of exactly the user uses to register or log into the geistreich web page.

The user makes a contract for using the services of The contractual partner is the

Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)
Kirchenamt der EKD
Herrenhäuser Str. 12
D-30419 Hannover.

Further contact information and the name of the person authorised to represent the EKD can be found on the page legal notice.

The intention of the community and the platform itself is the corporate creation of an encyclopaedia of practical ecclesiastic knowledge, the exchange of knowledge based on practical experiences and the communication and discussion with other users. The platform is an ecclesiastical, protestant platform which wants to offer a forum for the project- oriented exchange between salaried employees and volunteers.

To enable this exchange to be in step with actual practice and authentic as well as genuine, the users are obliged to register with their real name. Violations of this rule can cause an exclusion of the user. The EKD obligates itself to protect your account data.

After the contract is concluded, the user can see these terms and conditions anytime by clicking on the link which will always be accessible on the web-pages (, or can print them, or download and save them as well.

1. Subject

1.1 offers their registered users the following options for utilization: a closed platform for exchange which is free of charge. The free membership in this exchange platform will be referred to as “membership” in this document.

1.2 offers their users the possibility to  make the data or information they have made accessible to also accessible to other users. However the users can not claim the right to have their content made accessible to others, if the content violates the legal requirements or these AGB. is entitled to delete illegal and unlawful content without the need to announce that first.

1.3 The user has to respect that continuous accessibility of the web-pages can technically not be granted. However, will make an effort to offer continuous accessibility to all pages of Especially maintenance, security reasons and capacity issues, as well as events for which cannot be held responsible (e.g. breakdowns of public communications networks, electricity blackouts etc. ), can lead to temporary dysfunctions or to a temporary discontinuation of the pages of The EKD cannot assume any liability, especially concerning loss of data or the misuse by a third party (exclusion of liability).

1.4 The geistreich system is a result of the academic PATONGO research project. The research project is  being sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Social Fund (ESF)  (support code: 01PF08005A). Even after the duration of the project (June 2009 till May 2012), the academic partners can evaluate and analyse the usage of geistreich for scientific purposes. You as a user agree, that the interaction in the community is being supervised by scientists. You can find further details in the  privacy policy.

1.5 offers each user a platform, to connect the user with other users and therefore provides technical applications, which enable a general communication among the users. In case the users conclude contracts with each other, is not participating in those activities and is therefore not a contractual partner.

1.6 The users give their consent to receive E- Mails and their consent that content, which has been made available by them, can be made accessible to other members of the community. Short summaries of the content can even be made accessible to non-registered users of geistreich. The short summaries contain a title, meta-information and a picture. However, name and contact information will never be published without the explicit agreement of the users.

1.7 For all content provided by the user the following rules are valid: The copyrights remain with the user. The non-exclusive rights of utilization will revert to geistreich. The EKD reserves the right to use publicly available content of the user which includes print media (booklets, leaflets, magazines, books etc.) as well as other media (also other electronic media and other web-pages, particularly the web-page "Kirche im Aufbruch"). The user of geistreich gives permission to this utilisation of the content he or she has made available. In cases user-generated content is used, will be stated as the source where the name of the author can be seen explicitly. Please pay attention, that in such cases, the name of the author (the user) will not necessarily be printed in the media, where the content is used, as well. If the content is published on the page "Kirche im Aufbruch", the publication will be made without mentioning the name of the author (user). The rights of utilization and the public content will remain with geistreich in the described way, even if the user closes his or her account at geistreich permanently.

1.8 Not permitted user behaviour:

  • collecting or spying on data from geistreich, especially but not exclusively the personal data. It is also prohibited to access the services in an automated way, for example with robots or scripts.
  • Uploading content which is illegal or unlawful.
  • Copyrights are protected by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (; in case geistreich is informed about a presumable violation of copyrights, the geistreich- team is going to react immediately, provided that the information is correct.
  • behaviour which insults, hurts or discriminates other users. In those cases, the geistreich- team reserves the right, to delete illegal content and to block the access of the user.
  • the upload of content, which is not organised as a project, e.g. articles which would suit an encyclopaedia better and which are about only one object or thing (e.g. John the Baptist), or the upload of projects which are contradictory to the Christian articles of faith (rebaptism). The geistreich -team reserves the right to comment on or delete content if necessary.

Geistreich has the right to check the content if it is illegal and if it violates the user behaviour guidelines of geistreich for particular services. Also, geistreich can delete or hide content, which is illegal or in case it violates the user behaviour guidelines of geistreich for a particular service, or even if geistreich can justifiably act on the assumption it is that way. Geistreich is not responsible for content which has been uploaded by their users or for third-party content, which the users probably see when they use the services of geistreich. Geistreich does not adopt that content as their own.

1.9 Licence for third- parties: The rights for every further use are reserved by the EKD. For other publications please ask the EKD first.

2. Registration, warranties during the registration

2.1 The data, which the user declares during the registration process are only visible for the EKD and the Patongo UG (haftungsbeschränkt) and not for other users. During his or her registration, the user has to fill in all required fields. On this platform, the real name is being used.

2.2 The user warrants that all of the data he declares during the registration process is true and complete. The user is obliged to correct his data on immediately, in case they change after registration. The user must not use pseudonyms or pen names during the registration process.

2.3 During the registration, the user chooses a password. The user is obliged to keep this password secret. Geistreich will never pass the password over to third-parties and never ask the user for the password, except for each login into web-pages.

2.4 With completion of the registration process the user submits a quote for the conclusion of the contract for the use of the services offered by the web-pages. accepts this  quote by activating the user for the services offered by the web-pages. Through this approval the contract between the user and is concluded and accomplished.

2.5 Each user is only permitted to register once and to create only one user profile.

2.6 can technically not find out for sure, if a user who has registered on the web-pages is really that person he or she purports to be. Therefore, can not guarantee the real identity of a user.

3. Duties of the user

3.1 The user is obliged,

3.1.1 to make only true and non misleading specifications in his or her profile and in his communication with other users 

3.1.2 make sure that the public reproduction of the content transmitted to the web-pages by him or her is permitted.

3.1.3 It is strictly prohibited for the user,

  • to use insulting or defamatory content, irrespective if this content concerns other users, staff members of or other persons or companies;
  • to use content which is pornographic or violates laws for the protection of the youth or to advertise products which are pornographic or violate the laws for the protection of the youth or to offer or even distribute such;
  • to annoy other users in an unreasonable way (especially with spam) (see § 7 law against unfair competition (UWG));
  • use content which is protected by law (e.g. by the copyright law, the trademark law, patent law, international design law or the utility model law) without being entitled to do so. Or to advertise goods or services protected by law and
  • to do anticompetitive actions or to promote such – including progressive  canvassing (like chain system, pyramid sales or multilevel selling) .

3.1.4 Furthermore, the user is also obliged to refrain from the following insulting actions, even if they do not violate any laws in particular:

  • dispatch of chain letters,
  • execution, advertisement or promotion of multi-level marketing methods  (like pyramid sales or multi-level-network-marketing) or
  • insinuating or sexually affected communication (explicit or implicit).

3.2 For the user, each action is prohibited, which can result in the impairment of the functionality of the infrastructure of the web-pages, especially by overloading them excessively.

3.3 Upload of content: For texts, pictures and other material (which will be referred to as “content“ in this document), which are being uploaded to geistreich by the user, the user always warrants in a legally binding way, that he or she owns the copyrights of the content and that the content can be published on geistreich.
This means:

  • in cases when content is being uploaded by others, especially if content from the internet is being used, the person who uploads it, has to make sure that the content is loyalty free or the rights have been clarified with the holder of the rights by the person who uploads the content.
  • Personal rights must not be violated by the content. Concerning photos, this means that for portrait photos or photos of less than 4 persons, those persons must have expressed their consent. Special care has to be taken regarding photos of children. As an obligation, photos of children require the written permission to use them by the legal guardian of the child. Group photos of adults are permitted. Responsible for photos is the person who uploads them.
  • Own photos can be uploaded as long as the named conditions are met. 
  • Quotations have to be indicated.

The EKD does not take legal or other responsibility for content. The person who uploads content is fully responsible.

4. Changes of the services offered by the pages reserves the right to change the services offered by the web-pages or to offer differing services.

5. Termination of the contract

5.1 The user can terminate the free membership at any time without the need to state any reasons. If a user decides to de-register from geistreich, all personal data will be marked as invisible and the public content will remain but without the name of the author. Personal data can remain even after the de-registration for academic purposes. In this case the data will be assigned with random names and therefore pseudonymized. as well can terminate the free membership of a user at any time without the need to specify any reasons. In those cases the cancellation has to be accomplished in written form or directly through the web-page system.

5.2 Especially the following events can lead to a termination of the membership or to the cancellation of content or the blocking of a user account by

  • Breach of legal rules by the user;
  • in cases where the user violates his contractual obligations and duties, especially those stated at paragraphs 2 and 3 in this terms and conditions;
  • with his presence, the user causes significant impairment of the reputation of the services offered by the web-pages;
  • the user advertises associations or communities – or their methods or activities- , which are being observed by security agencies or youth protection agencies;
  • the user harms one or more other users or
  • the user is member of a sect.

6. Responsibility for content, data and/or information of the users

6.1 does not take any responsibility for the content, data and/ or information which has been provided by the users to the web-pages, nor for content from external web-pages which  has been linked to by the users. Particularly, does not warrant that the content is true, serves a certain purpose or can conduce to such a purpose.


6.2 In cases a user notices illegal use or use which is contrary to contract of the web-pages (including the utilization of delusive specifications) he or she can report this in written form.

7. Customer service/support

The user can send questions or explanations to his contract with or concerning other services of via telex or by letter. Requests can be addressed to the address stated on our legal notice page.

8. Indemnity

In cases of violations of these terms and conditions, particularly by illegal uploads to of unlawful content, the user indemnifies from all claims including compensation entitlements, which are asserted by other users or third-parties from because of the violations of their rights by the illegally to uploaded unlawful content  Further, the user indemnifies from all claims including compensation entitlements, which are asserted by other users or third-parties from because of the violations of their rights caused by the use of the services provided by the web-pages through the user. If he has violated third- party rights, the user is obliged to pay all reasonable expenses which my occur caused by the violation of third-party rights, including the expenses necessary for legal defense. All further rights and compensation entitlements of rest unaffected.

9. Data privacy protection is aware, that for the users of, a sensitive and careful handling of all personal data which is provided by the users to  is very important.

Therefore will act according to all relevant legal requirements (German data privacy protection laws, the data privacy protection law of the EKD, the European data privacy protection policies and every other applicable data protection law). Details about the processing of the user data are regulated in the privacy policy of

10. Rights to the content

By uploading his content, the user concedes the rights for to publish this content also in other places and on other pages. For individual cases, the user has the right to veto this use in written form. Further, the user concedes the rights for to continue to use his or her content for the web-pages even if the user has terminated the contract or the profile has been deleted from the community.

11. Final clauses

11.1 This contract and its changes require to be made in writing. No ancillary agreements have been made.

11.2 concedes the right to change these AGB at any time without the need to state any reasons. promises to inform the user about changes of this AGB. So to be able to continue using the web-pages after a change in the AGBs, the user has to confirm them again to be able to log in again.

11.3 Unless nothing other has been agreed upon, the user can send all his declarations to by using E-Mail, the contact form on the pages, telex or by writing a letter. can send declarations to the user by using E-Mail, telex or writing a letter to the address which the user has stated in his user account as up-to-date contact information.

11.4 In case particular rules in this AGB are or become invalid, the validity of the other rules is not affected.  The contractual partners commit to replace an invalid rule with a valid rule, which is as close in its content to the economically desired aim and purpose of the invalid rule, as possible. This remains valid in cases of contractual gaps.

11.5 Place of fulfilment is the registered office of

11.6 Legal venue is, as far as legally permitted the registered office of

11.7 German law is to be applied with the exclusion of the international civil law and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods incorporated by the German law.

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