Five and oh … look, another lawsuit upholds users’ rights online · 2016-03-29 21:12 by Ben Williams
5:0 – we just won our fifth straight court battle in Germany, this one against the huge German daily paper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
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.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, the biggest German national subscription daily paper, did not agree with this and went after our Acceptable Ads initiative, arguing that allowing users to block ads while also offering a compromise like our whitelisting process should not be allowed. However, as in the previous cases, the judge struck them down.
In particular, the court said that there is no “contract” between publishers under which users have somehow “agreed” to view all the ads a publisher serves. To the contrary, said the court, users have the right to block those or any ads, because no such contract exists.
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 monetize their content, and therefore is favorable, not disadvantageous, to them.
Finally, the Munich regional court said that the law does not exist to save or uphold publishers’ business model(s). Rather, according to the ruling, it is up to them to innovate.
… like maybe serving better ads? Look, we don’t want to pile on publishers here. We know that the transition from print to online is still a huge challenge. But we view ad blocking much like the court: as an opportunity, or a challenge, to innovate.
But I’m being a party pooper … What I should be saying is hurray – we won five in a row! Then again, maybe you’re getting tired of this sort of “news.” This is really just the next sequel in the series “GIANT GERMAN MEDIA vs ADBLOCK PLUS,” isn’t it? And you kinda know the ending by now, am I right? Well, true, but it’s important that you’re informed of the lengths to which some of the powers that be will go to restrict, curtail or outright ban your right to your screen.
At least that’s how we see it.
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