Ad-blocking is LEGAL: German court says Ja to browser filters

French publishers shrug, consider their own case

A Hamburg court today ruled the use of ad blocking is legal following a case brought against Adblock Plus by a group of German publishers.

The defendant in the four-month trial was Eyeo GmbH, the company that owns Adblock Plus.

The lawsuit claimed the company should not be allowed to block ads on websites owned by the plaintiffs: Zeit Online GmbH and Handelsblatt GmbH.

The ruling is likely to have an impact on whether a group of French publishers also proceed with plans to sue Eyeo over the upstart's practice of charging money to stop blocking ads.

According to L'Echos, the lawsuit is being considered by the French Internet Advertising Bureau and GESTE, a French group for publishers and content creators.

In a statement, the company said: "We are extremely happy with the decision reached today by the Hamburg regional court."

Ben Williams, a director of Eyeo, wrote in a blog: "The Hamburg court decision is an important one, because it sets a precedent that may help us avoid additional lawsuits and expenses defending what we feel is an obvious consumer right: giving people the ability to control their own screens by letting them block annoying ads and protect their privacy."

So far, more than 300 million users have downloaded the company's software.

In February it emerged that internet giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola had reportedly paid AdBlock Plus to allow their ads to pass through its filter software. ®

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