US Newspapers Threaten Legal Action Against Brave Browser Over Ad Blocking

The Brave Browser was created to offer a more streamlined user-experience by automatically blocking intrusive adverts and software which tracks user history. This allows pages to load faster and reduces the possibility of your PC being subjected to malware. Unfortunately, this didn’t sit well with a large number of major US newspaper publishers and they’ve now decided to threaten Brave Software with legal action. Seventeen publishers produced a letter to Brave Software’s founder and CEO, Brendan Eich which reads:

“Your plan to use our content to sell your advertising is indistinguishable from a plan to steal our content to publish on your own website [emphasis in original],”

Clearly, the publishers are unhappy that the Brave Browser replaces their adverts with the company’s own alternatives. They feel it’s effectively stealing and allowing them to make money from other people’s content. If Brave decided to resist the demand, the publishers are prepared to take legal action:

“We stand ready to enforce all legal rights to protect our trademarks and copyrighted content and to prevent you from deceiving consumers and unlawfully appropriating our work in the service of your business,” the letter stated. “We reserve the right to seek all remedies for this infringement, including but not limited to statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work. We believe your planned activities will also constitute unfair competition and misappropriation under relevant federal, state and common law. By engaging in Brave’s plan of advertising replacement, Brave is liable for breach of contract, unauthorized access to our websites, unfair competition, and other causes of action.” 

According to Computerworld, Brave’s ad revenue model works by:

“Brave will scrub websites of most of their ads and all tracking, then replace those now-empty slots with ads it sells. Seventy percent of the revenue from Brave’s ad sales would be shared with publishers (55%) and users (15%). The latter will be able to turn that money — in Bitcoin form — over to their favorite sites or keep it. Brave will retain 15%, with the remaining 15% going to advertising partners.”

Do you think the Brave Browser employs a fair business strategy?