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
    DannyB (profile), 6 Apr 2016 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re:

    Web sites that start putting product placement within their content soon become the ones that I stop visiting once it becomes obnoxious enough. If I were looking for what the advertiser was selling, I can easily find the companies that are selling what I want to buy. And, like Netflix, when I WANT IT, not when the advertiser wants it. And on the device I want it. And where I want it.

    And product placements in TV? I mentioned in a previous TD post that the remaining two TV programs I was watching a few years ago, on CBS, I quit watching due to horrible product placement. It just ruined the show, so I quit watching. I hope CBS is happy with the result. At least I am. So now I watch no network TV at all. Or cable.

    Netflix and Hulu work great without ads.

    As for product placements in Movies? The new Star Wars movie was the first movie I had seen at a theater in quite a long time. I didn't seem to notice any product placements for space craft or space suits, or particular brands of light sabers. My family and I booked our tickets weeks in advance, and then saw the movie several times, including the opening night showing. And bought opening night T-shirts, etc.

    I might be part of an attractive demographic to advertisers -- but I can't stand advertisers and have a violently revolting reaction towards them.

    The fact that there were some ads before the movie reinforced my extreme reluctance to attend movie theaters.

    As for TechDirt having promotional ads and content, I don't mind that. It is a direct, honest and straightforward approach.

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