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.
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”.