Another blow for publishers as the law sides with Adblock Plus yet again

Adblock Plus is celebrating another significant legal victory after one of Germany’s biggest newspapers, Süddeutsche Zeitung, had its lawsuit against the company’s Acceptable Ads initiative thrown out.

A Munich court ruled in favour of Adblock Plus after the paper challenged the company’s adblocking software and its Acceptable Ads initiative.

It marks the fifth successive legal victory for Adblock Plus in Germany, following successful legal battles against Axel Springer, RTL Interactive, ProSieben, Sat1 and Zeit and Handelsblatt.

The German software company announced the outcome in a blog post titled: “Five and oh … look, another lawsuit upholds users’ rights online.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung had taken issue with the browser extension software blocking ads on its websites and said the company’s Acceptable Ads initiative, which whitelists certain ads from Adblock’s "strategic partners", should not be allowed.

In its decision the court said there is no contract between users and publishers in which the user has agreed to view all the ads a publisher serves and as a result users have the right to block any ad they please.

As for the Acceptable Ads initiative, the judge ruled that by offering publishers a way to serve ads that ad-blocking users will accept it provided publishers with an avenue to monetize their content and was therefore not disadvantageous to them.

The Munich court concluded the case by placing the onus on the publishers, stating that the law did not exist to uphold their business models and so it was up to them to innovate as a means of addressing the problem of ad blocking.

The blog post ends by saying: “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.”

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