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Avira vs. Freemium(dot)com – We Will Protect You Against PUA

The court order sets a legal precedent for how Internet security companies like Avira can protect their consumers from potential ad-ware injection, malware, and unintended downloads introduced by installer companies like Freemium.

One of Freemium’s major investors, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, hosts a suite of gaming sites and download sites, as well as Axel Springer’s download portal, which all use Freemium’s installer software to earn money on the downloads of products they offer. Our antivirus software detects and flags unintended downloads with a safety warning, so Freemium filed a cease-and-desist letter against Avira GmbH claiming anti-competitive practices, and demanding that we should not be allowed to block the downloads.

The courts disagreed.

According to the terms of the legal judgment, our antivirus software is allowed to continue to provide a safety notice flagging these downloads as ‘potentially unwanted applications’ (PUA), in keeping with our recently published security policies. Freemium was denied its request for a cease-and-desist and, as the losing party, was ordered to pay all court costs.

“This ruling establishes a major legal milestone in the fight against misleading consumers into unintentionally installing unwanted software onto their computers,” said Travis Witteveen, CEO of Avira GmbH. “Earlier this year we established clear guidelines defining unethical software behaviour, and defining what our security software will block. We believe in ‘freemium’ and advertising-supported business models, however they must remain transparent and ethical in their implementation.”

Avira, a company with over 100 million customers and more than 500 employees, is a worldwide leading supplier of self-developed security solutions for professional and private use. With more than 25 years of experience, the company is a pioneer in its field.