Several German publishers (e.g. BILD, Zeit-Online, Handelsblatt, Pro7/Sat1, RTL Interactive) already tried to convince German courts to outlaw AdBlock Plus – a software that allows users to block certain content while looking at websites. So far unsuccessfully.
A few days ago, the WELT, which is part of the Springer family, tried to obtain a preliminary injunction against the developers of the content blocking software “blockr”.
Without warning WELTN24 GmbH applied for injunctive relief at the district court of Stuttgart (Landgericht Stuttgart) through the law firm Lubberger Lehment (Az. 11 O 238/15).
The court was asked to forbid the developers to offer, advertise, develop a software that surpresses ads on www.welt.de including mobile versions of the website or to have these actions carried out by a third party. WELT argued that the software was illegally obstructing (§ 4 Nr. 10 UWG) its digital content and therefore had to be banned.
The court announced in a hearing that took place on November 19th, 2015 that it did not see any legal grounds on which a preliminary injunction could be issued.
LHR represents the legal interests of the developers of the content locker “blockr” Arno Appenzeller und Tim Pollert. “We are pleased that the court followed our arguments regarding the legality of the software”, said Lawyer Dr. Niklas Haberkamm, LL.M. oec. after the hearing.
The judges specifically considered that it is the users´ independent decision to use content blocking software and that publishers like WELT can adequately react to users who block certain content. For example by banning users of content or ad blockers. A measure already implemented by BILD regarding its online content on www.bild.de.
Thus we requested to reject the claims. The court will issue a decision on December 10th, 2015. (ha)
(Bild: © cevahir87 – Fotolia.com)