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AdBlock Plus Successfully Defends Itself Against Axel Springer Lawsuit

AdBlock Plus Successfully Defends Itself Against Axel Springer Lawsuit


The arch-villain in the ongoing ad-blocking debate, Adblock Plus has just announced another victory, successfully defending itself in a lawsuit fronted by German publishing house Axel Springer.

AdBlock Plus was sued on the unofficial grounds that ‘journalism is a vehicle for delivering advertising’, and that no product should be allowed to block this source of revenue.

The regional court in Cologne ruled in favour of the ad-blocker extension and its ‘whitelist’ initiative on all counts, following similar cases brought by the same company.

Tough defence

Boasting over 400 million downloads to date, AdBlock Plus reigns as one of the most popular extensions around. However, this is the fourth time that its ambitions have landed itself in the German court.

Axel Springer, now the owner of Business Insider among a host of other online titles, had tried on two separate occasions to sue the makers of AdBlock for syphoning revenue from its ad-driven business model. On one of these attempts, aim was taken at the group’s Acceptable Ads policy, which allows certain advertiser clients to have their inventory displayed.   

After being cleared once again of any wrongdoing, the defendants pulled no punches in their review of the case.

“Like Superman and Batman, we’re finding that protecting consumer rights - in our case against well-funded lawyers - is a lot of hard work,” said Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus.

“The added insult in this lawsuit was Axel Springer’s attack on our Acceptable Ads, which is a perfectly reasonable effort to allow well-meaning websites and responsible content producers to earn ad revenues. It shows just how unreasonable and anti-innovative some publishers can be. It’s no mystery why so many people install ad blockers.”

Since Axel Spring represents a publishing house which operates worldwide, the ruling sets a precedent for ad blocking globally, said the statement. AdBlock Plus also claimed further validation of its widely-criticised Acceptable Ads initiative, which “offers a compromise in the online ads ecosystem in order to encourage better ads”.

Read next: What Does Ad Blocking Mean for the Publishing Industry?

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Mark  Jones

Mark Jones

Mark manages all aspects of editorial on PerformanceIN as the company's Head of Content, including reporting on the fast-paced world of digital marketing and curating the site’s network of expert industry contributions.

Going by the ethos that there is no 'jack-of-all-trades' in performance marketing, only experts within their field, Mark’s day-to-day aim is to provide an engaging platform for members to learn and question one another, helping to push the industry forward as a result.

Originally from Plymouth, Mark studied in Reading and London, eventually earning his Master's in Digital Journalism- before making his return to the West Country to join the PI team in Bristol.

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