Top German court rules ad blocking legal

Rejecting Axel Springer’s claim ad blocking, Germany‘s highest civil court has ruled that the online ad blocker AdBlock Plus does not violate any competition law. Applications that filter out and hide website advertisements may remain freely available in Germany, the court ruled, making Axel Springer the latest of several German media companies to lose a legal case brought against developers.

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) dismissed a claim brought by Axel Springer, which had accused Eyeo, the developer of the ad blocking extension AdBlock Plus, of unfair competition practices.

The Federation of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) has reacted with incomprehension to the ruling, saying, “This would make any financing model for online journalistic content that relies on digital advertising revenues massively vulnerable.” There was no official reaction to the ruling from Axel Springer’s end, but on the day the decision was issued, the company filed a constitutional complaint charging violation of press freedom at the Federal Constitutional Court.

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