Learn about exceptions for educational, documentary, scientific or artistic purposes

Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and Sites are designed to help people create content and collaborate with each other. 

The abuse programme policies play an important role in maintaining a positive experience for everyone who uses Google products. 

When we confirm that content violates our policies, we enforce those policies. This could mean:

  • Restriction of access to content 
  • Removal of content
  • Limitation or termination of a user's access to Google products for severe violations  

We may make exceptions to these policies for educational, documentary, scientific or artistic (EDSA) content.

Evaluating whether content qualifies as EDSA

When determining whether your content qualifies for an EDSA exemption, we evaluate context and indications of intent. 

We may assess the content using the '5 Ws and an H' framework – who, what, where, when, why, how – to understand whether an ESDA exemption is justifiable. 

Offering an alternative position or rebuttal to violative content also may demonstrate the EDSA nature of the content. 

In addition to the content itself, many other factors are used to determine whether content should be subject to an EDSA exemption, including: 

  • The file or folder's title
  • Editorial watermarks
  • How easily accessed the content is 
    • Content that's shared with many people, including documents that are accessible to anyone with the link, may be used outside of the context intended by its owner. 

However, just because content exhibits EDSA characteristics, like being depicted in the style of a broadcast segment or an academic paper, does not guarantee that it will be considered EDSA. 

It's important to note that not all policies allow EDSA exemptions. EDSA exemptions don't apply to:

  • Account hijacking
  • Account inactivity
  • Circumvention
  • Child sexual abuse and exploitation
  • Malware and similar malicious content
  • Non-consensual explicit imagery
  • Phishing
  • Spam
  • System interference and abuse

Examples of EDSA evaluations

The table below provides hypothetical content and its likelihood to receive an EDSA exemption for what would otherwise be policy violations. 


Likelihood of EDSA exemption

Potential EDSA exemption

Violence and gore

More likely

Photo of people with visible injuries from a bombing that has a straightforward photo name with time and place. Documentary

Dangerous and illegal: Self-harm

More likely

A document sharing personal struggles of self-harm without promotion of the behaviour. Documentary

Dangerous and illegal: Dangerous materials

More likely

A chemistry textbook explaining explosives. Education 

Hate speech

More likely

A video of a hate group march with a watermark for an authoritative news outlet with a descriptive title of the place and date that the march occurred. Documentary

Sexually explicit content

More likely

Photos of marble Greek statues depicted in the style of heroic nudity. Artistic 


Privacy and security in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides 

The content that you save on Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides is private to you, unless you choose to share it. You can share files in many ways, from sharing with a few collaborators to making the files publicly accessible. 

Please note that when files are available to anyone with the link, the content may be used or interpreted beyond your purposes or intent. 

Important: Be sure to always carefully label and contextualise your content, especially when sharing with others. At any point, you can stop, limit or change sharing.

How to report and appeal violations

If you receive a notification that your file violates Google's Terms of Service or programme policies and you believe that this was in error, you can request an appeal. Request a review of a violation.

You can also request a review of content that seems to violate our policies.

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