One of the fantastic benefits of the Internet is that it puts incredible information and entertainment at our fingertips. We can instantly watch videos, listen to music, read news articles and much more. It’s important to remember, however, that these works may be protected by copyright law.
We’d like to take a moment to explain the AdSense policies regarding copyrighted material and provide some tips on how to comply with them.
It’s against our policies to show ads alongside copyrighted material you don’t have authorization to use. Simply put, you cannot run AdSense ads alongside copyrighted content that violates copyright laws, or alongside links to such content. The program policies go into more detail.
Generally speaking, any original creative work that appears online is protected by copyright law. There are some exceptions, such as purely factual material, or material that has entered the public domain. But in general the reach of copyright law is very broad.
Do you have the right to use the material?
In most cases, without a specific license or exception, you don’t have the right to offer most mainstream entertainment such as television shows, movies, and popular music on your website.
If you created the content entirely from scratch, chances are you hold the copyright. Generally, you’re free to monetize this kind of content any way you like. If you didn’t create the content, or you created it using other peoples’ content as source material, you should ask yourself if you have a license or if an exception applies.
You may have acquired permission from the copyright holder for the material on your web site. This kind of permission is typically called a license. In this case, as long as your use is in line with the license you have, you should be okay.
There are also exceptions to copyright law that may apply to your use. Fair use in the United States, and other similar exceptions elsewhere, allow for certain kinds of uses of copyrighted material. Common examples are criticism or scholarship. There are other exceptions to copyright law as well.
We don’t want AdSense used in ways that may support copyright violations, so we sometimes err on the side of caution if a site cannot demonstrate a clear legal basis for using or linking to copyrighted material.
Linking to filesharing hosts
It’s against our policies to show ads on the same page as links to other sites that are hosting copyrighted materials without authorization. Keep in mind that these sites come in various forms such as forums, blogs or community websites.
Reporting instances of copyright infringement
If you believe that a site which is participating in the AdSense program is displaying your copyrighted material without the rights to do so, please report it using this form or by clicking on the AdChoices icon. If you’d like to know more information about copyright issues and AdSense, we encourage you to visit our Help Center.
Posted by Ben Barkhoff, AdSense Policy Team