Abstract: With the ever-rising amount of digital content and desire to garner more audience by delivering content free of cost, digital content creators are resorting to online advertisements to support their work. The ad tech industry, which is the brains behind such practice of ad monetization, has been facing scornful criticism for designing annoying and intrusive ads that are mostly built with tracking cookies embedded in them. Many advertisers, instead of self-regulating, are claiming that ad-blocking amounts to copyright infringement of a content creator’s work and opposes the ethos of Net Neutrality. In this article, the authors contend that legitimate ad-blocking does not amount to copyright infringement and is, in fact, a reasonable traffic management practice on the internet. The article first seeks to shed a light on ad-blockers, their economic significance and relevance on the internet. The article then discusses the potential copyright infringement aspects of ad-blocking software. The article further discusses the tortious interference aspects of ad-blockers and proceeds to address the net neutrality concerns that could arise out of the use of ad-blockers. The last part of the article contains conclusory remarks.

Authors: Mohit Kar is a 5th Year law student at the Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad. The author may be reached at 17ballb44@mnlua.ac.in.

Shreya Sahoo is a 5th Year law student at the National Law University, Odisha. The author may be reached at shreya.sahoo.148@gmail.com.

The full text of the article can be found as a PDF here

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