For The Fifth Time Now, German Court Says Adblocking Is Legal

from the wanna-go-for-six? dept

A few months back we noted that various German publishers, including publishing giant Axel Springer kept suing adblockers, claiming they were illegal... and they kept losing. AdBlock Plus notes that German publishers are now 0 for 5 as yet another legal challenge to ad blocking has been rejected:

We received news late last week that we’d won our fifth straight lawsuit in Germany. This time it was brought by one Germany’s top newspapers, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (think a German version of the New York Times), and it follows victories over Axel Springer, RTL Interactive, ProSieben/Sat1 and Zeit/Handelsblatt. (That’s a veritable who’s who of old guard German publishing btw.)

The setting was Munich this time round, but the outcome was the same as the four times previous: it is indeed legal for users to block ads and our Acceptable Ads initiative is not a detriment for publishers but rather a potential benefit to them.

The judge clearly recognized the issues, noting that there's no contract between users and a site that requires them to view ads, no matter how much publishers may want to pretend that what they refer to as a "social contract" is somehow a legal contract. The court also, rightly, noted that the law is not designed to pump up a business model that is failing, and that it's up to the publishers themselves to create better business models.

Even though we're a publisher who relies on ads for some of our revenue, we've never been shy about recognizing that ad blockers are an essential form of freedom for users, to control what goes into their computers, and an important security tool as well. Would our own lives be easier if ad blockers didn't exist? Perhaps. But, as always, the onus needs to be on us to build business models that work, and not rely on forcing people into doing things they're not comfortable doing.

The sooner more publications realize this, the sooner we can get past the broken system we have of online advertising today.

Filed Under: ad blocking, germany


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The First Word

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  1. icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 5 Apr 2016 @ 5:43pm

    Sorry but I am not going to cry and Tears for the online Advertising companies. A person who surfs the internet nowadays is barraged with all sorts of invasive forms of Ad's.

    The Ad companies have no one to blame but themselves, they have graduated from ads that were banners to intrusive things, like pop-under, mouse-overs, IFrames, redirects, oversize, auto play, malvertising and virus laden ads, forcing you to click or hit the esc button, forcing you to click thru and on and on and on and it is even worse if your on a tablet or mobile device.

    If your on a tablet or mobile device you have all the same worries and the added bonus of watching your device bandwidth get eaten up and your device slowing down or grinding to a close halt.

    The advertisers thirst for cash and subjecting surfers to the aforementioned garbage type ads is the whole reason Ad Blockers are so prevalent now and the Ad Blocking industry has been booming.

    I realize sites need and want revenue from the ads, we all get that, however I will be damned if I am going to sit and be prey to the intrusive ones that turn a simple web site visit into one of those annoying moments were I can wait to get the fuck away from that site and vow never to return and go off to search for what I am looking for elsewhere on the web.

    As for the sites who kindly as you to turn off your ad blocker, I do that to the ones where I find the Ad's aren't intrusive, but to the others that ask and then they pull the above laden intrusive ads..fuck you!

    If you are on a t

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