Adblock Plus unfair competition case rejected

Posted Apr 20, 2018 by Tim Sandle
The German Supreme Court has rejected the claim made in a lawsuit against the popular Adblock Plus program. The case centered on unfair competition.
A woman shopping online
A woman shopping online
Keith Williamson, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
The lawsuit began three years ago, and was started by German publishing giant Axel Springer. The publishers argued that the mechanism that Adblock Plus uses stopped people seeing adverts on its sites, and that this amounted to unfair competition. The case also involved the fact that Adblock Plus lets firms pay to be on a "white list" to stop their ads being blocked, which Axel Springer also objected to in terms of imbalanced competitive practices.
Adblock Plus is an open-source content-filtering and ad blocking extension. The program was developed by Eyeo GmbH, which is a German software development company. The advert blocking extension has been released for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge (beta version), Opera, Safari, Yandex Browser, and Android.
The existence of Adblock Plus has been popular with many consumers but unpopular with many business websites reliant upon advertising, since its launch. The owners of some websites (those reliant upon third-party hosted online advertising to fund the hosting of their websites) have long argued that the use of ad-blocking software presents a risk to their revenue stream.
Despite the arguments put forward by Axel Springer, The Supreme Court disagreed and, as ZDNet reports, said no laws were being broken because it was up to individual users whether they used the software. Adblock Plus co-founder Till Faida is quoted by Android Police as saying: "We are extremely pleased with the ruling in favor of Adblock Plus and against Axel Springer."
Axel Springer, the largest digital publishing house in Europe, has indicated it will continue the legal challenge and that the case will next be taken to Germany's Constitutional Court.