Avira wins German case over adware blocking

Avira had warned users that an Angry Birds clone came with a bunch of other software

Moorhuhn Remake

Moorhuhn Remake

A lawsuit alleging that security software from Avira improperly blocked downloads of a software bundle that presented itself primarily as an Angry Birds-style game has been dismissed.

Freemium GmbH had sought a cease-and-desist order in Berlin District Court against Avira, based in Tettnang, Germany, whose security software warned users that a game called Moorhuhn Remake came with other potentially unwanted software.

A three-judge panel in Berlin District Court dismissed the case on a lack of grounds, ordering Freemium to pay €500,000 (US$551,000) in court costs, according to Avira. The court gave its decision verbally in May but just recently released its written ruling.

The case could mark an important precedent for software publishers within the European Union that seek to challenge security companies seeking to give users more advice on what they're about to download.

Avira classified Moorhuhn Remake's download manager as a potentially unwanted program (PUP). It's a term used by security companies to advise users that what they're about to download may not be malicious, but could end up installing other software on their computer, such as advertising programs, or adware. Users can ignore such warnings and continue to download the programs if they choose.

Software publishers sometimes wrap many other trial versions of programs into download packages in the hope that consumers will eventually purchase the full versions. Such affiliate marketing schemes abound across the Internet.

Moorhuhn Remake was one of several programs wrapped into a software download manager offered on websites including www.computerbild.de, published by Axel Springer, according to a professional translation of the ruling provided by Avira.

Other programs were offered in the bundle, which go by the names PC TuneUP, Driver Finder, Super Easy Register Cleaner, Web Companion, Sparpilot, Browsing Secure, OK Freedom and Zoomit.

Freemium maintained that users could opt out of downloading the additional programs, but both parties disagreed over how transparent that process was.

Avira contended that there was no discernible link between Moorhuhn Remake and the other applications. The fine print and licensing terms were also unclear to users, Avira argued. Avira blocks what it considers to be PUPs from other publishers aside from Freemium.

Freemium claimed that the blocking by Avira's security software had caused a 50 percent decline in its revenue since February.

Freemium had sought a €250,000 fine for each violation of trade regulations and up to six months in prison for Avira's managing director, Travis Witteveen.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags advertisingfreemiumAviraCivil lawsuitslegalinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?