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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetadvertisinglegalCivil lawsuitsfreemiumAvira

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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?