EDMAs 2021

Adblock Plus Wins Legal Battle with Süddeutsche Zeitung

Alex Spencer

AdBlockAdblock Plus (ABP) has won a court case against German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The case targeted the ad blocking company's controversial 'Acceptable Ads' program, which whitelists select publishers, based on whether their ads meet a set of criteria – and in the case of larger companies, whether they're willing to pay for it.

The court ruled that users are not contractually obliged to view the ads served by a publisher and, according to ABP's blog post on the ruling, "that by offering publishers a way to serve ads that ad-blocking users will accept, the Acceptable Ad initiative provides them an avenue to monetise their content, and therefore is favorable, not disadvantageous" for publishers.

In the post – titled, with ABP's usual tact, "Five and oh … look, another lawsuit upholds users’ rights online" – ABP's Ben Williams points out that this is the fifth such lawsuit the company has faced and won in Germany, following legal battles with Axel Springer, RTL Interactive, ProSieben/Sat1 and Zeit/Handelsblatt.

“This is really just the next sequel in the series 'Giant German Media vs Adblock Plus', isn’t it?” Williams wrote. “And you kinda know the ending by now, am I right? Well, true, but it’s important that you’re informed of the lengths to which some of the powers that be will go to restrict, curtail or outright ban your right to your screen. At least that’s how we see it.