A new development was recorded in the ongoing legal battle between the ad-blocking industry and publishers. As we previously reported, ad-blocking software has been faced with legal challenges brought by publishers trying to ban ad-blocking in Germany, albeit with no success for the publishers thus far.
Whilst the previous two cases, in which publishers filed legal claims against an ad-blocking browser extension (Adblock Plus), were dismissed by the respective courts which concluded that there is nothing inadmissible or anti-competitive in the service, a new ruling by the German District Court in Frankfurt took an opposite and negative approach.
In a lawsuit filed on behalf of the news portal Die Welt, the district court ruled against AdBlock Plus stating that the ad-blocking software interferes with the legitimate business of Die Welt. The Court upheld that the targeted elimination of external advertising by ad-blocking software is regularly unfair and issued an injunction against AdBlock Plus prohibiting it from blocking ads in the Die
Welt website. However, the impact of the ruling is limited at this point given that the decision has been issued in an interim proceeding and may be dismissed at a later stage.
As we reported last month, Blockr - one of the new iOS 9 ad-blocking extensions that allows users to block ads in the Safari mobile browser – was brought to court by Axel Springer, who also owns Die Welt. In this instance, the Court ruled in favor of the ad-blocker pointing out that a publisher has other options to fight ad-blocking such as preventing users from using the website when detecting that they have enabled ad-blocking software.