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June 20, 2024

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Google Ads is a powerful platform that allows businesses to reach a wide audience through targeted advertising. However, to maintain a fair and lawful environment, Google enforces strict policies regarding the use of copyrighted content in ads. This article explores these policies and provides guidance on how to comply with them, ensuring that your ads are not disapproved due to copyright violations.

Google Ads Copyright Policy

Protecting Copyright Holders

Google Ads is committed to respecting and protecting the rights of copyright holders. The platform does not allow ads that use copyrighted content without proper authorization. This means that any use of copyrighted materials such as images, videos, music, or text must be legally permitted by the copyright owner.

Certification for Authorized Use

If you have legal authorization to use copyrighted content in your ads, you must apply for certification. This process verifies your right to use the content and allows your ads to run without issues. For those using DV360, a separate certification process is available.

Reporting Unauthorized Use

Google provides a mechanism for copyright holders to report unauthorized use of their content. If you encounter an ad that uses copyrighted material without permission, you can submit a copyright-related complaint. Google will investigate and take appropriate action, which may include disapproving the ad.

Examples of Prohibited Content

To help advertisers understand what is not allowed, Google provides specific examples of prohibited practices:

Unauthorized Sites or Software

  • Sites or software that enable unauthorized streaming, sharing, copying, or downloading: This includes platforms that offer access to copyrighted audio guides, e-books, anime, games, films, mp3 ringtones, music, software, TV shows, and other media without proper authorization.

Unlawful Offline Distribution

  • Sites that distribute unauthorized physical copies: Platforms that sell or distribute physical copies of copyrighted CDs, DVDs, or software without permission from the copyright holders are not allowed.

Circumvention of Digital Rights Management (DRM)

  • Software or tools that bypass DRM technology: Any product or service that removes DRM protections to access copyrighted content, such as Blu-ray or DVD rippers, burners, and converters, is prohibited, regardless of the intended use.

Consequences of Policy Violations

Ad Disapproval

If Google determines that an ad violates its copyright policy, the ad may be disapproved. This means it will not be displayed, and you will need to rectify the issue before the ad can be approved again.

DMCA Complaints

If Google receives a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint regarding the content of an ad or its destination, the ad is likely to be disapproved. The DMCA process allows copyright holders to protect their rights and seek removal of infringing content.

Troubleshooting and Compliance

Steps to Take if Your Ad Is Disapproved

If your ad is disapproved due to copyright issues, you should:

  1. Review the Disapproval Notice: Understand the specific reason for disapproval.
  2. Remove Unauthorized Content: Replace any unauthorized copyrighted material with content you have the rights to use.
  3. Apply for Certification: If you have legal rights to the content, apply for the necessary certification to demonstrate your authorization.
  4. Resubmit Your Ad: Once the issue is resolved, resubmit your ad for approval.

Preventing Future Issues

To avoid future disapprovals:

  • Use Original Content: Whenever possible, create and use your own original content in your ads.
  • Obtain Proper Licenses: Ensure you have the necessary licenses or permissions for any third-party content you use.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with Google Ads policies and guidelines to ensure your ads remain compliant.


Adhering to Google Ads policies on copyrighted content is essential for running successful ad campaigns without interruptions. By understanding and respecting copyright laws, obtaining proper authorization, and applying for certification, you can ensure your ads comply with Google’s standards and reach your target audience effectively. Remember, respecting copyright not only protects you from legal issues but also supports the creative industries and content creators whose work enriches our lives.


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