Hamburg courts give Adblock the nod in a “victory for every single Internet user”
German courts have declared the use of adblocking, the art of using tools in your web browser to block advertising on websites, 100 percent legal following a four-month trial.
It was two German companies, Zeit Online GmbH and Handelsblatt GmbH, who brought the case against adblock vendor Adblock Plus (ABP) in Hamburg. The lawsuit charged that Adblock Plus and its parent company Eyeo should not be allowed to block ads on websites owned by the plaintiffs. Adblock Plus said the accusers sought an “injunctive relief”, called “Unterlassungsanspruch” in German.
The Hamburg judge ruled against the plaintiffs and in favor of Adblock Plus. Adblock Plus said that the decision aids in “upholding the right of Adblock Plus users everywhere to continue to block annoying ads and protect their privacy”.
Adblock’s software was already legal, but the decision by the German courts will likely set a precedent on future cases brought against Adblock Plus and its rivals.
In a statement, Adblock Plus said: “We are extremely happy with the decision reached today by the Hamburg regional court. This is a victory for every single Internet user because it confirms each individual’s right to block annoying ads, protect their privacy and, by extension, determine his or her own Internet experience. It is living proof of the unalienable right of every user to enjoy online self-determination.”
In February, ABP was accused of receiving payments from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Amazon to allow adverts to slip through Adblock’s software.
Internet giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola have reportedly paid AdBlock Plus to allow their ads to pass through its filter software. A source told the Financial Times that Adblock has been pocketing up to 30 percent of the ad revenues for ads that it filters through its software from the web companies.