Restating the obvious: adblocking declared legal · 2015-04-21 17:25 by Ben Williams
It may surprise readers of this blog to know that some advertiser groups believe blocking ads is illegal. They are upset that adblockers impede their multi-billion dollar business (or in this case, euros) of shoveling ads at you whether or not you like it or asked for it. In fact, a group of publishers in Hamburg, Germany was so upset that they actually took Adblock Plus to court.
Today, after a four-month trial, reasonable heads prevailed as the regional court in Hamburg ruled in our favor by declaring that ad blocking is, in fact, perfectly legal. I know, it’s restating the obvious. But it cost us lots of blood, sweat and tears nonetheless.
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.
For those of you who are interested in legal proceedings, you may find these details fascinating:
- The plaintiffs (the parties that sued us) are Zeit Online GmbH and Handelsblatt GmbH. These companies operate three websites: Zeit.de; Handelsblatt.com; and Wiwo.de. The defendant is Eyeo GmbH (which is the company that administers Adblock Plus).
- The lawsuit charged that we should not be allowed to block ads on websites owned by the plaintiffs. They sought what is known as injunctive relief (which is called “Unterlassungsanspruch” in German).
- The Hamburg judge ruled against the plaintiffs and in favor of Adblock Plus, upholding the right of Adblock Plus users everywhere to continue to block annoying ads and protect their privacy.
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. Let’s develop new forms of nonintrusive ads that are actually useful and welcomed by users; let’s discover ways to make better ads; let’s push forward to create a more sustainable Internet ecosystem for everyone.
You know where to reach us.
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