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Adblock Plus: OLG Munich declares advertising blockers admissible

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 | Gadgets

According to a judgment of the Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court) Munich, adblockers on the Internet do not violate antitrust, competition and copyright laws. On Thursday, the court rejected the complaints of several website operators against the Cologne-based Adblock-Plus provider Eyeo in three parallel proceedings and confirmed earlier judgments. Unlike the Oberlandesgericht Cologne, the Munich judges in the paid whitelisting of unobtrusive ads also see no prohibited aggressive advertising.

In the specific case, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the TV channel Prosiebensat.1 and the RTL subsidiary IP Germany had complained. According to the court's press release, they argued "that the use of the software leads to massive sales losses, specifically hinders them and puts them under unfair pressure on them to conclude with the defendant a fee-based agreement on the" release of advertising content ".
No market dominating position of Adblock Plus
The Munich Higher Regional Court considers, however, that there is no specific restriction of competitors. A prohibition of antitrust law was not imposed because Eyeo "does not have a dominant position in the market of access to all Internet users for advertising". The copyright claims asserted by one of the applicants also fail. Since the website allows users to access the internet content freely when using the advertising block, and "merely expressed the request not to use advertising blocks, the user has a (simple) consent". The Süddeutsche Zeitung had introduced an ad block barrier in October 2016.

Because of a divergent decision of the Higher Regional Court of Cologne on the competition law claims, the revision was admitted to the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). In its judgment of June 2016, the OLG Cologne had declared the business model of Eyeo inadmissible. Accordingly, the company is not allowed to charge any money for the inclusion of websites of the Axel Springer publishing house in the so-called Acceptable Ads program. The OLG was, however, declared admissible for the blocking of advertisements per se. Subsequently, however, the publisher requested that his ads be completely unlocked.
EyeO CEO Till Faida welcomed the Munich decision: "The verdict once again strengthens the user rights for which we are using our products. We hope to start a constructive dialogue with the publishers and website operators outside the courtroom "Said Faida. His company wants to find solutions that "work well for users and providers alike".

In April 2017, Eyeo took over the Flattr micro payment service. However, the browser plug-in already announced in May 2016 for a new payment system is not yet ready for use. The launch is scheduled for next October, Eyeo said at the request of Golem.de.

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