German Court Rules AdBlock Plus Is Legal

A regional court in Germany ruled on Wednesday that it's legal to use ad blocking software, even if content publishers object to the practice. The Hamburg court decision denied injunctions against Adblock Plus that had been sought by the German publishing firms Zeit Online GmbH and Handelsblatt GmbH.

While Adblock Plus hailed the decision as "a victory for every single Internet user," the company's days in court aren't over yet. Three other cases brought by publishers elsewhere in Germany remain to be decided in other courts.

The challenge by Zeit Online and Handelsblatt had asked the court to prevent Adblock Plus from being used to block advertisements on their Web sites. The publishing companies claimed the plugin software was anticompetitive because it posed a threat to their online business revenues.

Appeal Still Likely

While this week's court decision was welcome news to Adblock Plus, it isn't likely to prevent the three other challenges against it in Germany from moving forward because those cases have already had their initial hearings in other courts, a spokesperson for the company told us. The next hearings, scheduled to be heard in court in Munich, are set for May 27, he said.

This week's ruling "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," noted a statement issued by Adblock Plus and its parent company, Eyeo GmbH. "It is living proof of the unalienable right of every user to enjoy online self-determination."

The statement added that Adblock Plus will "endeavor to work with publishers, advertisers and content creators to encourage non-intrusive ads, discover new ways to make ads better and push forward to a more sustainable Internet ecosystem." Adblock Plus added it's still likely that...

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