Advertising blocking software Adblock Plus has been found to be legal in Germany following a case involving a collection of publishers against Eyeo, the company behind the tool.
This is the second time that the legal status of the software has been vindicated, after Zeit Online and Handelsblatt, publishers of websites Zeit.de, Handelsblatt.com and Wiwo.de, had alleged that the software acts illegally in blocking adverts.
The companies sought an injunction, but the court in Hamburg sided with Adblock Plus.
RTL, Pro7, SAT1 scheitern mit Klage gegen AdblockPlus vor Landgericht München. Wichtiger Sieg der Verbraucher gegen nervige Internetwerbung!— Adblock Plus (@AdblockPlus) May 27, 2015
A report in The Guardian said that German broadcasters RTL and ProSiebenSat1 have now tried and failed in a similar case.
Publishers have complained that the software is anticompetitive and an attack on the media, but the courts have found otherwise.
A spokesperson for RTL told The Guardian that the company is considering its options, including the possibility of an appeal.
The report added that the court found there was not enough evidence to suggest that Adblock Plus carries enough weight to influence competition.
4-for4 in court! Ad blocking and Acceptable Ads (and users) win once more against 2nd group of Goliath-sized publishers.— Adblock Plus (@AdblockPlus) May 27, 2015
Eyeo welcomed the court decision, the fourth in its favour, in an emailed statement.
"This is the fourth time that massive publishers have brought legal proceedings against our startup," the company said.
"But even with expensive lawyers and bottomless pockets, this was a clear case of users' rights, so we felt it was the right time to stand up and draw a line in the sand. Thankfully, the court sided with users and with compromise.
"So we're pleased to say that Adblock Plus will continue to provide users with a tool that helps them control their internet experience."
Eyeo said that the firm will also try to work with publishers, advertisers and content creators to "encourage non-intrusive ads, discover new ways to make ads better and press forward to a more sustainable internet ecosystem".
Eyeo does offer sites the ability to be whitelisted. This is reportedly a free service, but requires some effort from the firm and in some cases companies pay to use it.
A database of whitelisted websites and blogs is available. Eyeo said that "some companies" pay to be whitelisted, explaining that these are usually "larger properties".
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