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Another Court Rules that Eyeo's Adblock Software is Legal

Published by: Kelly Curtis on 2nd Jun 2015 | View all blogs by Kelly Curtis

Another Court Rules that Eyeo's Adblock Software is Legal

The makers of AdBlock plus scored a key victory in court this week when a judge ruled in their favor in Germany.  Marketed as the world's most popular ad blocking tool, AdBlock Plus allows users to block display ads when browsing the Internet.   RTL Interactive and ProSiebenSat1, a pair of German broadcasters, filed a lawsuit claiming that blocking ads was illegal.  The companies also took issue with  Eyeo, the company that makes AdBlock, and its white-listing service for ads.  Under Eyeo's Acceptable Ads policy, publishers are required to follow certain guidelines and often pay pricey fees in order to have their ads white-listed, meaning they wouldn't be blocked under normal use of the AdBlock product.  Of course, AdBlock users can still opt to block all ads, meaning white-listed ads wouldn't even appear for those users.

In a ruling issued last week, a Munich judge said that because users choose to download AdBlock, and it's not popular enough to affect the majority of publishers' ad revenues, the tool is not anti-competitive.  It's another major setback for publishers of online ads, as Germany is essentially saying that ad blocking is legal.  "We are elated at the decision reached today by the Munich court, which is another win for every internet user,” read a statement from Eyeo.  “It confirms each individual’s right to block annoying ads, protect their privacy and, by extension, determine his or her own internet experience. This time it also confirms the legitimacy of our Acceptable Ads initiative as a compromise in the often contentious and rarely progressive world of online advertising."

Last week's ruling marks the fourth failed lawsuit challenging the legality of Eyeo's flagship software.  In addition to the AdBlock Plus for PCs, Eyeo is also working on a version for mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, released in beta form last week.  According to Eyeo, there are now more than 50 million people utilizing the AdBlock software around the world.

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