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German court rules in favor of ad-blocking software over media outlets

By Justin Kahn
Apr 23, 2015
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  1. germany

    As many of us are aware, online publications and media outlets rely heavily on the revenue generated by displaying ads throughout their content. We also know there are products out there that allow us to block those pesky ads. Recently a group of media outlets in Germany took AdBlock Plus to court because it was threatening their business.

    The group, which consisted of publications including Die Zeit, Handelsblatt and others, said to judges in Hamburg the AdBlock Plus web browser extension is anti-competitive and should be shut down. 

    Unfortunately for the publications, Germans will continue to be able to avoid advertising online as the court ruled in favor of AdBlock Plus. "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, “ Project Manager from AdBlock Ben Williams said.

    However, it appears that won’t be the case. Publishers have indicated that an appeal is underway and that they will continue to fight against ad-blockers: “we are still convinced that AdBlock Plus is an illegal and anti-competitive practice.” The group feels ad-blocking technology “infringes” on the freedom of the press and will “examine the prospects” of an appeal.

    While it’s hard to imagine that giving users the choice as to whether or not they will support the publications they visit is a bad thing, AdBlock has also come under fire regarding what some are calling a whitelisting racket. The group has reportedly been accepting money from advertisers in order to have their ads pass through AdBlock, but the company has recently denied those claims.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Panda218

    Panda218 TS Maniac Posts: 288   +105

    I browsed the internet on a friends PC recently and was blown away by the amount of ads people who don't use adblock see on a daily basis... ITS MADDENING I TELL YOU!
     
  3. Ziffel

    Ziffel TS Booster Posts: 75   +62

    What an *****ic lawsuit. Talk about grasping at straws. Ad blocking takes place on the end user's PC, not on these companies' servers. Ads are filtered entirely on the end user's pc. This is basically a lawsuit trying to make it illegal to use private software on a private computer. It's like saying you can't alter your web browser with a theme or change a site's fonts. Those things are also done on your own PC and have no effect on their servers.

    While it might be illegal to use *some* private software, this is only true when you are sharing copyrighted material with that software. Ad blocking infringes on nothing or no-one in any legal way. It's essentially a browser customization.
     
    Kevin82485 and cliffordcooley like this.
  4. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,559   +598

    There's no difference between using AdBlocker and pressing the mute button on my TV, or pausing the show then fast forwarding through the commercials - which I do as a matter of practice when watching TV.

    These media outlets suing AdBlocker are just throwing their money down a hole.
     
  5. MarkGB

    MarkGB TS Rookie

    I have used AdBlocker for years. Occasionally, some site will use java to display ads, but since I refuse to install Java on my system, that doesn't affect me. Without AdBlocker, I was going nuts. With it, I am getting what I want when I go to a site, and not what the sites advertisers want to throw at my eyeballs and ears.
     
    learninmypc and trgz like this.
  6. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Addict Posts: 278   +142

    Using an ad-blocker is a simple security measure that everyone should have installed on any windows machine.

    Also, I think advertisers should not be allowed a free pass. They need to own up to some of the most annoying, atrocious advertisements ever concocted. Make better ads and maybe some people will watch them. No more boner pills, offering to speed up my pc, gigantic adverts that take up a third of the screen and force weird scrolling issues, pop ups, pop unders, slide ins etc. These kinds of advertisments are crap, and until the advertisers clean up their act, no one should feel sorry for felling the need to block them.

    Advertising makes the world go around, but that doesn't mean we need our eyelids forcefully pulled back or have advertisements injected intravenously.
     
    SirChocula, trgz and cliffordcooley like this.
  7. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,559   +598

    Exactly. If they just made some clever, non-obtrusive, non-malware ads that would actually encourage the viewer to click on them, this wouldn't be a problem. But when you see gigantic banner ads around 3 sides of your window screaming "YOU'RE THE 10,000TH VISITOR!!! CLICK HERE TO RECEIVE YOUR PRIZE!!", well - I'm going to AdBlock the hell out of that.
     
    trgz likes this.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,558   +2,900

    If the web ever needed regulating it is the ad space. But I'm not gonna call for regulating because that then opens the door to more regulating. I'll settle for using Adblock until they get the message.
     
    trgz likes this.
  9. Experimentongod

    Experimentongod TS Addict Posts: 227   +86

    I think on the previous comments people have touched all the main points. I'm just going to say that advertisers have abused the medium and most ads nowadays are obscenely annoying if not borderline scams, so block away.
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. TuffGuy1958

    TuffGuy1958 TS Rookie

    The whole making money from ads thing has been going on for years. I remember looking for stuff online back in the dialup days and people would put a link on a search engine which would take you to another page and another and another and you could nearly go on forever and included gazillions of popups with them getting paid for every page you went to.
    These days ads are a whole lot worse from covering every spare square inch of screen to popups, hell try and watch a lot of online videos these days and you have to sit through ads first. The internet is free and it is my god given right to choose whether or not I want to watch or view ads and if someone makes an app or addin that blocks them then I for sure am going to use it. Advertisers have no rights on a free internet to force me to view their rubbish if I don't want to and I am the one choosing not the company making the app or addin. I don't think any court on the planet could rule any other way because after all the internet is a free for all and nobody has specific rights to do anything.
     
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,509   +2,056

    There's still ad's on the internet? I haven't noticed any since I've used an adblocker.
     
  12. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 1,906   +954

    I disable AdBlock on the sites that I support. The moment I am forced to view ads on a website is the moment I stop going to that website.
     
  13. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,160   +198

    I use Adblocker myself and would not be without it. Dont forget to whitelist your favorite sites though, Poor devs have gotta eat :)
     
    SirChocula likes this.
  14. I recommend NoScript and PrivacyBadger over AdBlockPlus anyway.
     
  15. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 159   +41

    Do I need to worry about getting sued when I fast-forward through commercial breaks on my DVR or when I get up from my couch during a commercial break during a football game to grab a snack or use the bathroom?

    How ridiculous...
     
  16. Spykezxp

    Spykezxp TS Addict Posts: 290   +73

    Ghostery and AdBlock Plus is what I have been using since they both pretty much came out. I whitelist all of my favorite sites, but still get ads that pop through every once in a while from other non-whitelisted sites I visit. It does not surprise me anymore seeing how many Ads that "pop up" on different websites.
     
  17. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Booster Posts: 200   +44

    I'll take ads over those farking auto-playing videos on news sites
     
  18. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,043   +274

    This reminds me of a story from a few years back where the CEO of TWC said that everyone should be forced to watch commercials.
     
  19. adamrussell

    adamrussell TS Rookie

    As this is not a settled case (I see a long fight), it might be good to report the court's basis for its decision.
     
  20. History of commercials is long and ugly. I wish for a WEB totally free of commercials, with dedicated sites only for commercials for peoples that are searching for certain products.
    I always block all commercials from all sources and if somehow some of them make way to my attention and annoy me, I will be careful to NOT buy ever that product, just because I was annoyed by the ad.
     
  21. Taron Ramsay

    Taron Ramsay TS Rookie

    Anti-competitive? it blocks everyone's ads not just specific companies so its not given any company an advantage!
     

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