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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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Apr 2016 @ 4:24pm

    The big difference is TD doesn't value ad revenue over the users. Rather than waste time making demands, you politely asked while at the same time offering an easy opt out system. TD got whitelisted by a bunch of people who ad-block everywhere, because it wasn't a battle.

    TD is aware of how shitty and invasive some ad offerings are, and magically the ads served up aren't giant take over blaring music crap. Its almost like you took a look at the web, saw all the crap users hate, and went out of your way to avoid doing that.

    I wonder how many of these newspaper moguls have browsed their own offerings on a stock web browser. I'd love to see video of their faces when they see what they are putting their customers through to get a few cents.

    Sometimes it is better to ask nicely and do your best to offer ads that aren't invasive.

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