As we reported in some of our previous client updates, the legal questions surrounding ad-blocking, continues to make headlines. Recently, a German court has granted the publisher Axel Springer a significant success in its ongoing legal battle against ad-blockers, which users can install on computers or mobile devices to prevent advertising from being shown. This is the first decision of a court of appeals in this regard in favor of the publisher.
The appeals court in Cologne decided that the ad-blocking provider Eyeo, the parent company of Adblock Plus, may not charge the publisher for a fee to appear on its "Acceptable Ads" whitelist. The whitelist enables companies that submit advertising to Eyeo, which is not deemed to be intrusive or annoying, to have their ads served to Adblock Plus' users, while other ads are blocked by the service. The German court also stated that it did not have objections to ad-blockers as such, confirming earlier rulings (see our report about the previous decisions).
Adblock Plus has announced that it is planning to appeal the latest ruling to Germany’s Supreme Court. Although this case is focused on German law and its implications on adblocking services, the result and implications arising from this case are likely to have a significant effect on the entire adblocking industry.