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
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2016 @ 12:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Oh, I agree - it's the end user's choice."

    So... why do you have a problem with that choice being not to accept ad-driven sites? Or, at least crappy ad-driven sites (most people block ads for security reasons or because the ads annoy the hell out of them, not because they don't want the site to get paid).

    "Paid posts seem nice until sites start to let them shade their content, or make it somewhat less easy to tell what is promotional and what is not. Gizmodo is bad for that."

    If people object, they can also choose not to read those sites. Your main complaint seems to be this particular site, however, and I've never seen a hint that editorial content is influenced on Techdirt, nor any attempt to present an ad as though it's an article - such things are always clearly marked. You're welcome to present your evidence if you feel differently.

    But, I'll still take facts maybe being "massaged" to a particular point of view than the constant lies and misdirection made up by sites that depend on clickbait ad dollars. If a majority start to agree with me, well they need to find a different way of making money, don't they? We'll see what they actually come up with, but protecting a crappy business model because you're scared of the one alternative you can personally imagine isn't a sensible objection based on reality.

    As ever, barring you bothering to present some actual evidence, your obsessive objection to this site seems very strange.

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