German courts back Adblock plus against publishers

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyCourts around Germany are starting to reject publishers’ demands and are finding in favour of Adblock.

A German regional court has ruled that it is perfectly legal to use AdBlock plus because there is no contract between the reader and the publisher.

This suit, brought by the company behind the leading German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, is the fifth such case to be decided in favour of the German software makers.

A Munich court also ruled that the “Acceptable Ads initiative,” a scheme that requires larger companies to pay for their ads to be whitelisted by Adblock Plus, is acceptable under German law.

Writing in his bog, Adblock Plus’s Ben Williams said that without a contract between publishers and visitors to view all the ads a publisher serves there users have the right to block those or any ads.

“Additionally, the judge ruled that by offering publishers a way to serve ads that ad-blocking users will accept, the Acceptable Ad initiative provides them an avenue to monetise their content, and therefore is favourable, not disadvantageous, to them.”

The court went a bit further and told off the company behind Süddeutsche Zeitung saying that “the law does not exist to save or uphold publishers’ business models. Rather, according to the ruling, it is up to them to innovate.

Last September German publishing giant Axel Springer told the court that it was “the constitutional right of the press to advertise,” and that the Adblock Plus software was infringing on that right.

The court in Cologne was not impressed and ruled that both the adblocking software and the Acceptable Ads whitelist were legal.