Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Axel Springer goes home empty-handed in unsuccessful lawsuit against users’ rights · 2015-09-29 15:18 by Ben Williams

Earlier this year it was a group of media conglomerates that sued us in Hamburg. Then ProSieben/Sat1 and RTL Interactive both sued us in Munich. Now, the global publishing house known as Axel Springer has sued us right here in our home town of Cologne, Germany. But once again, the courts ruled in favor of Adblock Plus and declared ad blocking to be legal.

Axel Springer** is a multi-billion $$ digital publishing house which owns a majority of the daily newspapers in Germany, and which has operations in more than 40 countries worldwide. They sued Adblock Plus claiming that “it’s the constitutional right of the press to advertise” and that no product should be allowed to block those ads. When the judge threw that out, Axel Springer went even further and attacked our Acceptable Ads initiative, arguing that no ad blocking tool that offers a whitelist like ours should be allowed to exist. Once again, the judge struck them down and Axel Springer went home empty-handed.

The most outrageous argument in the trial came when Axel Springer’s lawyers asserted:

“The core business of the plaintiff is to deliver ads to its visitors. Journalistic content is just a vehicle to get readers to view the ads.”

Wow … I know plenty of journalists who value their craft more than that! In fact, it is because we value the craft that we developed the Acceptable Ads program in the first place. Good content deserves support from respectful and nonintrusive ads.

The Cologne regional court agreed, and ruled that our ad blocking software and our Acceptable Ads are both legal, and they should stay. So we’re once again pleased to say that Adblock Plus will continue to provide users with a tool that helps them control their Internet experience. At the same time we will also continue to work with (reasonable) publishers, advertisers and content creators to encourage nonintrusive ads, to discover new ways to make ads better and to press forward with a more sustainable Internet ecosystem for everyone.

**Those of you in the US might be interested to know that the original founder of Axel Springer is no relation to Jerry Springer (we checked). Though their methods of conduct are eerily similar.

Comment [13]

  1. Dave Van MusicMaster · 2015-09-29 16:05 · #

    good result – while I agree every company has a right to advertise – everyone also has the right to choose to block those adverts.
    When I want to buy a particular service or type of goods – then I will do an internet search for myself.
    I find most adverts disreputable and downright misleading and intrusive – by blocking them, they don’t steal MY bandwidth – i.e. adverts being forced on you – like the ones that run on YouTube before the video you wanted to watch.
    Perhaps these companies would like to pay for all the time wasted waiting for their irritating adverts to play through, and the extra load on my internet connection.

    Perhaps if the adverts weren’t so intrusive, then people wouldn’t feel the need to block them

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for the comment! I agree: because ads became so intrusive people decided to make ad blockers in the first place.

  2. Steve Melhuish · 2015-09-29 16:41 · #

    That is great news, I only wish there was such a device to block adverts on Television too…. They are getting far too much everyday advert here and advert there we are all being brainwashed by these adverts…. Stop them now.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Like DVR? Anyway, thanks for the note!

  3. Abhinav singh · 2015-09-29 16:53 · #

    Good win and a lesson for others. ABP will grow stronger after this result……

    Reply from Ben Williams:


  4. Max · 2015-09-29 18:04 · #

    Great achievement! Congratulations to your team:)

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks, Max!

  5. Nya Nguyen · 2015-09-29 18:30 · #

    Can I support Adblock Plus by going on a social advertising campain on a massive scale to let people know about this must-have addon? This will hurt the big guys like Google and Facebook who shows adds in your face when you didn’t authorize them to.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Sounds interesting, will you keep us in the loop?

  6. Roy martin · 2015-09-29 19:21 · #

    Predatory advertisers/capitalists RAUS !

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for chiming in!

  7. Mr M.Bouyioukkas · 2015-09-29 20:40 · #

    A victory for common sense !
    No one should have the right to force adverts
    on to people. This has made my day.congrats.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Glad to hear it. Wasn’t a bad day around here either.

  8. terry rolerkite · 2015-09-29 21:51 · #

    Thank god for a sensible judge Adblock plus makes internet browsing a pleasure,and not the ad ridden disaster that it used to be before Adblock love it.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Most definitely! Thanks!

  9. Subhro · 2015-09-30 04:50 · #

    I find this victory very pleasing. To be honest, these days very few “journalism” is worth to spend time on. At least they were honest about their main “business” of delivering ads.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Definitely honest. Shame what some people think about the people they work with, eh?

  10. JaymaN · 2015-09-30 06:52 · #

    About right. Congrats. I’m glad, however, that ABP allows ME to choose which websites I support by letting me allow ads on those
    There are some content providers that deserve our support..

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for that. Nice to know users out there take a nuanced view toward ad blocking and see the bigger picture.

  11. Darryl · 2015-10-01 05:21 · #

    Finally a good news story.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks, thought so too.

  12. David Rowell · 2015-10-05 06:37 · #

    Congratulations on the great outcome. Sounds like you’re on a steel. Keep it up!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks, David. Appreciate your support.

  13. Mehebub khan · 2015-11-02 21:36 · #


Commenting is closed for this article.