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Using Adblock Plus to Block Ads is Legal, Rules German Court -- For the Fifth Time (arstechnica.co.uk) 237

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Using Adblock Plus to block ads on websites is legal, a German regional court has ruled. The suit, brought by the company behind the leading German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, is the fifth such case to be decided in favor of the makers of the software, who are based in Germany. The court in Munich also ruled that the "Acceptable Ads initiative," a scheme that requires larger companies to pay for their ads to be whitelisted by Adblock Plus, is acceptable under German law. "To the contrary, said the court, users have the right to block those or any ads, because no such contract exists," Adblock Plus's Ben Williams writes. "Additionally, the judge ruled that by offering publishers a way to serve ads that ad-blocking users will accept, the Acceptable Ad initiative provides them an avenue to monetize their content, and therefore is favorable, not disadvantageous, to them." Previously, Adblock Plus's parent company Eyeo has won court cases against the German publishing giant Axel Springer, Germany television companies Pro 7/Sat 1 and RTL Interactive, and against the companies operating the Zeit Online and Handelsblatt websites.
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Using Adblock Plus to Block Ads is Legal, Rules German Court -- For the Fifth Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 31, 2016 @01:19AM (#51812685)

    When Google did their unified login, and unified privacy policy, that was the point I started blocking adverts. You watch something on YouTube, or visit a shopping site, and you get served up ads for that product where-ever you go. "Do not track" is ignored.

    Adverts became privacy invasions, and they are easy to block, so I block them. IMHO Firefox's new "block tracking items" is one of few new features in Firefox that are the right choice.

    And Android is worse, a unique ID sent to Google all the time so it can track you. It's claimed to be anonymous, but its trivial for them to link it to a real identity. And its sent whether you opt in to personalized ads or not.

    Why should I watch your ads if you do shit like that Google? I've already ditch Google for DuckDuckGo due to tracking.

    • You can use that EFF tool, Privacy Badger [eff.org]. Though, I'm finding it tends to be a little aggressive about blocking tracking cookies, and some websites don't work right. But enh, I figure if a website breaks due to it's blocking cookies, nothing of value is lost.

      Yes, it's perhaps a shameless plug, but I just really like that tool.

    • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @04:45AM (#51813169)

      I started blocking them when they were called banners. I would block them anywhere if I had the chance. Be it on websites, on the front of my screen, in magazines, on the street, as a logo or on my underwear.
      To quote Banksy:

      People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply youâ(TM)re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

      You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
      Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. Itâ(TM)s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

      You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially donâ(TM)t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, donâ(TM)t even start asking for theirs.

      -- Banksy

    • This is why I never browse while logged in to anything and I clear my cookies every time I close my browser. I also keep auto complete turned off. In addition, I run with noscript and will always leave google-analytics and other tracking domains blocked.

      I do not need to run an ad blocker because the only ads I see are the plain-jane non scripted ones.

  • by LostMonk ( 1839248 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @01:47AM (#51812753)
    If as first you don't succeed, sue and sue again
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @02:52AM (#51812921)
    Remove Flash and that gets rid of all of the annoying ads from most things. There's a script called "youtube-dl" to both get to youtube without flash and to get the content you actually want without the annoying ad.
  • Or some other protocol that fundamentally opposes the concept of inline graphic flashy shiny things, tracking users and those much hated "Here's the thing with ad blockers" popups that appear after you've already half-read the page
  • by JavaBear ( 9872 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @03:30AM (#51813025)

    Though too many are F##KING annoying and resource hungry, and should be killed with nuclear fire.

    The real problem though, is the dozens of TRACKERS that usually come with these ads.

    They need to die in nuclear fire as well, along with their authors.

  • âoeThe core business of the plaintiff [Axel Springer] is to deliver ads to its visitors. Journalistic content is just a vehicle to get readers to view the ads.â

    You have to admire this kind of honesty. They admit their business is to serve ads. So complaints about "journalistic integrity" can't really be made of this site (or indeed any other).

    • What do you think any media is? Why do you think so many radio stations play music? Because it keeps the most listeners engaged long enough to get to the next commercial break. Do you really think television is designed to entertain you? Ha. It's there to make you feel as inadequate as possible until the advertisements play to sell you products that will fix your inherent inadequacy.

      • Do you really think television is designed to entertain you? Ha. It's there to make you feel as inadequate as possible until the advertisements play to sell you products that will fix your inherent inadequacy.

        In Canada, this is getting out of hand. Used to be one commercial break in a 30 minute show. Now there's three. Wait, that wasn't enough. You know the credits at the end of the show? They've been squished to less than 1/4 of the screen, making reading anything illegible. The other 3/4+? Ads.

        Wait, not e

  • by flappinbooger ( 574405 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @06:38AM (#51813425) Homepage

    adblock plus is better than nothing but uses tons of ram and is just too "mainstream" now.

    ublock origin is the way to go. Much lighter weight, saves ram and processor, has that exclusive air about it.

    ublock origin was blocking ads before blocking ads was mainstream.

    • On my computer, Adblock Plus uses 111MB right now, and uBlock uses 60MB. This tab with Slashdot open uses 82MB. It's a lot of memory, but not so much that I notice anything in the performance.
  • It's simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @06:48AM (#51813459) Homepage

    Users have the right to block banners.
    Websites have the right to block users who block banners.
    Deal with it.

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      Yes, but why would they rather sue adblock writers instead?

      Because we are not their customers - we are their product. Most sites these days are in the business of selling your attention to advertisers, their actual customers. If you use adblock (or stop visiting them), you cannot be sold anymore. That they don't like.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      No, websites have the right to TRY.

  • NoScript (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @07:01AM (#51813509)

    I use NoScript for Firefox. A side-effect of blocking 3rd party scripts is most advertising gets blocked out. I don't care much about ads, but I'm not going to let some random third party run scripts on my computer when I visit a web site. If the site wants to serve up static jpegs as ads, that's fine, it works, and I don't care about it.

    • Me too. I do all my primary browsing in FF with exactly 2 add-ins: noscript and colorful tabs.

      I use Opera, Chrome and Edge for other specialty purposes. Chrome whenever I need to cast something to the TV. Opera for one of my side project jobs and Edge for all other work-related stuff.

      NoScript does as much ad blocking as I require. That is, it blocks the harmful/obnoxious ads... that is all I require. I don't care about banner ads or textual ads.

  • Was this even in doubt? I mean seriously, who the fuck gave anyone control over what plugins I install on MY computer?
  • Wired as well (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Thursday March 31, 2016 @08:37AM (#51813897)
    I just added Wired to my I will never see again list, along with Forbes.

    There was a link at the bottom of this page to go there, it looked interesting so I clicked on it.

    Up comes the demand that I disable my adblocker.

    As they say in the old country - No fucking way.

    So now Wired joins Forbes and a number of other sites that are on the list at the same level as goatse or tubgirl. Having had the chance to do some browsing on another computer that allowed the whole shebang of intrusive crap the trackers and advertisers ram down our gullets, it's painfully slow - reminiscent of the days of 14.4 dialup. And worse than the last time I went bareback on the web.

    And now that the Grandmas of the world are finding out that their computer can be "fixed" by blocking scripts and ads, look out. This cure is not just for geeks like me any more. Grandma net is remarkably quick and powerful. Even my wife's friends are hearing about this cool thing I installed on her laptop, and maybe Ol could install it on their computer too?

    And that is what the ad/malware servers are afraid of.

    For Forbes and Wired - sorry friends, your using a scorched earth policy of demanding I open up my computer to the wild world of malware you serve, in order to see your content - you can go straight to hell. Your content is no where good enough to allow me to do that.

    • Wow, I haven't been to wired in a while. You are correct. What a joke...

      I have whitelisted wired.com.
      The problem is, there is a tidal wave of crapware sites that show up in no-script:
      condenast-blah-blah, amazonadsystem-blah-blah, googlesyndication-blah-blah...
      There was a time when I could manually select which other sites to whitelist to get a site to work.
      I'm getting tired of doing that...

      I am going more in the direction of, if whitelisting the "top level" domain doesn't work, and I don't s
  • If only there were some system in place for predicting the outcome of new court cases based on the verdicts in previous similar cases that were heard by the same court.
    • by henni16 ( 586412 )
      Besides them being different courts, those lawsuits might actually be somewhat different because, while they all wanted to stop adblock from blocking theirs ads, the plaintiffs might have used different approaches and accused adblock of violating different laws.
      I haven't looked up the past lawsuits, but IIRC another article about this most recent case, this time the argument went along those lines:

      1. The newspaper and adblock are competitors because of the acceptable ads program. The court agreed with
  • Unless you have entered into a contractual arrangement with a website, it is up to you how your browser works. If that browser does not display ads, that is up to the user. If the user wants to run a greasemonkey script, that is up to the user. If a website wishes otherwise, it needs to have users sign up to a legally enforceable contract which stipulates how they use the site. That this is too much like hard work for both users and hosts is not the users' problem. (As for copyright legislation, I do think

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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