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

Reader Comments

The First Word

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  1. icon
    JBDragon (profile), 5 Apr 2016 @ 4:21pm

    Maybe if they didn't thow a zillion very invasive ad's to people. Plus all the tracking of people from site to site and so on. Basically downloading a bunch of garbage from 20+ different sites just for a small article. All the garbage using more Data then what you want to view. It's been shown that up to 79% of what you're downloading is Ad's!!! That's just ridiculous. When you have CAP's, and /or paying for each and every bit of Data you download on your cell plan, these company's are crazy.

    It's no different from me using a DVR and hitting a button and skipping all the ad's. So we have Product placement in shows.

    Remember the days of Pop Over windows with Ad's then Pop under and Microsoft and other's blocked that right in the browser because it was getting crazy. A bunch of windows opening up behind your browser of ad's!!! It's so bad now you can get a virus from one of these's ad's. We have every right to block this garbage. If they don't like it, block everyone using a Ad blocker!!! It can be done. Of course people will just leave, but you can't force it on people.

    Can I go to these Ad company's houses and take a dump right in the middle of their place? Why not, to me it's the same thing.

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