German Adblock App Wins Groudbreaking Case
An ad-blocking application, called Adblock Plus, is in the news this week after a controversial ruling German courts. The app allows people browsing the web to automatically hide advertisements on pages that they’re viewing. In a decision handed down by German courts today, the app’s owners were victorious in their case against two German news publishers who hoped to have it banned from working on their pages.
The owners of the Die Zeit and Handelsblatt newspapers said that Adblock Plus threatened their ability to generate revenue, which like many online publishers is generated from ads displayed alongside their content. But a Hamburg court said that the product was legal, at the end of a four-month trial.
The app can be downloaded as an extension for most browsers and hides all adverts including those posted on videos or social networks. The service is free and the company makes its money in part by allowing advertisers to pay to get around their blacklist, though it says that adverts still must be non-intrusive and not annoying.
In a blog post about the result, Adblock Plus’s project manager Ben Williams announced: “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.”