German court rules that ad blockers are legal

Developed 10 years ago and downloaded hundreds of millions of times, the open-source software Adblock Plus is one of the most po
Developed 10 years ago and downloaded hundreds of millions of times, the open-source software Adblock Plus is one of the most popular ad-blocking programmes

Germany's Supreme Court on Thursday threw out a case brought by media giant Axel Springer seeking to ban a popular application that blocks online advertising, in a landmark ruling that deals a blow to the publishing industry.

In a legal battle dating back more than three years, the court found in favour of Adblock Plus, an app developed by a firm called Eyeo and Axel Springer, which publishes Germany's best-selling daily Bild and also owns dozens of online portals.

Developed 10 years ago and downloaded hundreds of millions of times, the open-source software Adblock Plus is one of the most popular ad-blocking programmes, aimed at preventing intrusive adverts from popping up on the screen and tracking a user's search history for commercial ends.

But websites dependent on advertising revenue to remain free-of-charge see the as a scourge.

In its ruling, the court found that "the programme does not violate the law against unfair competition."

The judges ruled that the app did not interfere directly with Springer's ads.

"It is an autonomous decision of internet user to use the programme," they argued.

Eyeo drew up a "white list" and a "black list" of sites depending on how intrusive their ads were.


Explore further

Digital publishing to boost Axel Springer again in 2018

© 2018 AFP

Citation: German court rules that ad blockers are legal (2018, April 19) retrieved 25 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-german-court-ad-blockers-legal.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
14 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more