Adblock Plus can't charge Axel Springer for whitelisting its ads

Ad blocking is still legal, if less lucrative, in Germany, says software developer Eyeo

Fed up with readers using ad blockers to access its content for free, German publishing giant Axel Springer won a free ride of its own in a court appeal on Friday.

The publisher's lawyers have been trying to get ad blocking declared illegal in a series of suits against German software company Eyeo, set up by Till Faida and Wladimir Palant, the developer of Adblock Plus.

Their efforts had been unsuccessful -- until Friday, when the Higher Regional Court of Cologne ruled that Eyeo could not charge the publisher for whitelisting its ads.

Eyeo's business model has angered publishing companies and users alike.

While AdBlock Plus can block all ads, a preferences setting allows it to whitelist "acceptable" ads so that they are shown by the browser. Eyeo encourages users to turn on this setting so that they can support publishers and encourage the development of unintrusive advertising.

Eyeo does take money from some large publishers to fund its whitelisting effort, but says the whitelisting is performed independently based on objective criteria.

Thanks to Friday's ruling, it can no longer charge Axel Springer to participate in its whitelisting service.

"Normally, because Axel Springer would probably qualify as a 'large entity' per our rules, they would pay; but because of this ruling, we have to treat them as a special case," Eyeo's Ben Williams wrote on the company's blog.

There's no question of blacklisting Axel Springer as a result of this ruling.

"If Springer brings us ads to whitelist, and these fit our criteria, we'll whitelist them for free just like the other 90 percent of the companies on our whitelist," Williams wrote.

Eyeo is going to appeal the latest ruling, saying it is confident the Federal Court of Justice will overturn the ruling forbidding payment.

Axel Springer too is ready to take the case to Germany's supreme court

"The court decision sends a clear signal to ad blockers," said Axel Springer's head of content and commercial law, Claas-Hendrik Soehring. "We will not accept illegal interferences with our constitutionally guaranteed freedom in designing media products -- in particular, the 'cutting out' of ads from our digital media offerings."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

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.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

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?