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October 13, 2009

Is it stealing to block Web ads?

Posted: 09:41 AM ET

Popular ad-blocking Firefox add-ons, such as AdBlock and Skipscreen, are upsetting some Web site owners who generate revenue from advertisements.

In a recent article, TechDirt clashes with several blog owners who claim users of ad blockers are stealing.

Michael Lankton of Connected Internet argues:

When you come to one of my websites you are absolutely welcome to not click any of the ad links. You are equally at liberty to not pay attention to the ads should you so choose. I will also make a promise to the user that the monetization of my sites will not be intrusive and will not draw undue attention to itself.

That said, if you block the ads on my site, pound sand. It’s practically like you are stealing from me.

File host MediaFire has responded to the the add-on SkipScreen, which allows users to skip its ads, by firing off a legal takedown notice to Mozilla.

However, Mozilla has refused to honor the takedown request. And the Electronic Frontier Foundation supports Mozilla's decision:

Free file hosting provider MediaFire seems to think that, when you follow a link to download a file from its service, it has the right to control your browser. This is yet another example of a web site owner forgetting that it's your computer, and it's none of their business how you choose to experience their web pages.

So what do you think? Would you use an application that blocked ads from appearing, even if those ads supported the site you were visiting?

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Filed under: browsers • Internet

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