AdBlock Plus survives scrap in German court


AdBlock Plus has won its right to operate, after claiming victory in a court battle with German publishers took it to court in an attempt to rule it anti-competitive.

Die Zeit and Handelsblatt filed the case against developer Eyeo's adblocking software, saying it threatened their right to earn money by allowing users to block advertising.

They wanted the Hamburg court to find the software to be anti-competitive, but lost the case yesterday.

AdBlock Plus's project manager, Ben Williams, said in a blog: "The Hamburg court decision is an important one because it sets a precedent that may help us avoid additional lawsuits and expenses defending what we feel is an obvious consumer right: giving people the ability to control their own screens by letting them block annoying ads and protect their privacy."

Both publications say they will continue fighting against the software, saying: "It infringes the freedom of the press. Therefore, we will await the written reasons for the judgment, analyse them and examine the prospects of an appeals procedure,"

However, Williams was undeterred, adding: "Now that the legalities are out of the way, we want to reach out to other publishers and advertisers and content creators and encourage them to work with Adblock Plus rather than against us."

Although AdBlock Plus is free for users to download and use, it makes money by allowing some whitelisted adverts through. However, these adverts have a strict set of rules to make the browsing experience more enjoyable for users.

Eyeo was first taken to court last year, when German media outlets RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1 Media decided to take action against the plugin.

However, the company denied it was caught up in any legal battle at the time.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.