cover Art Sites

From MusicBrainz Wiki
Revision as of 17:09, 25 September 2007 by Foolip (talk | contribs) (I like YesAsia! (Imported from MoinMoin))
Jump to navigationJump to search

This page outlines websites that MusicBrainz can use to retrieve cover art.

There are a number of times that cover art isn't available on Amazon, either due to customer-submitted images or to an absence of a release. Also Amazon does not stock a lot of indie music that other smaller retailers on the net sell.

In order for MusicBrainz to deep link (link directly to a JPEG file on the retailers site) MusicBrainz needs permission from the retailer. Each retailer should be contacted to ask for permission to deep link to their site and MusicBrainz should NOT link to a retailer if no permission has been granted.

Proposed Web Sites

  • When adding a site, please include an example release and a direct link to its cover.
  • Please also place the sites alphabetically.
Site Example release Cover URL Contacted Permission URL
[[[Image:550338.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:prozak_small.jpg]] Cover] Yes permission
[[[Image:133836.jpg]] Cover] No -
Discogs Example Cover No -
eMusic Example Cover No -
[[[Image:799.jpg]] Cover] Yes Only via (See note below) Example Cover No -
[[[Image:088.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:vorcza.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:64866M.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:xgn010.jpg]] Cover] Yes (none yet)
Jamendo Example Cover Yes permission
[[[Image:CS232113-01A-BIG.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:cover_200.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:CD_jbt-funky.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:carrierdata_16646.jpg]] Cover] Yes In negotiation
[[[Image:1000350681.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:865.jpg]] Cover] Yes In negotation (voiceinsideyou)
[[[Image:Aquarium_Careless_Russian_Rover.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:l_p1002851860.jpg]] Cover] No -
[[[Image:picture.jpg]] Cover] No -

Specific permissions for individual releases is tracked on the Permission For Artwork page.

Supported Web Sites

So far we support CD Baby and cover art links. To create a new cover art link, follow these steps:

  • Go to the release you'd like to add cover art to.
  • Click on Relate to URL
  • Select the has coverart at link type
  • For Jamendo enter the URL of the release page, e.g.
  • For other sites enter the URL to the image itself (i.e. ends in .jpg or .JPG)
    • [[[Image:prozak.jpg]] CD Baby]
    • [[[Image:xgn017.jpg]]]
  • For CD Baby and Jamendo, you're done. For, proceed to the next step
  • Since does not have a consistent scheme for music URLs and coverart URLs, you need to add a seperate get the music link to the music page. (e.g. You can choose any of the 4 get the music' link sub-types.

That should link in the cover art and make sure the Info link below the cover art goes to the right place.

Ruoak has said that links to art on artist's own website may be linked to, but only if written permission to do so is requested and received from the artist or their representative. In such a case, that written permission must be published here in the wiki. -- BrianFreud [2007-05-10:4:33EST]

Using's Wayback Machine

Upon a consultation with our IP attorney Ed Cavazos, linking to images in the Wayback machine is OK. You may link any type of album cover in the wayback machine, including bootlegs. However, if we receive a request to remove a link to a Wayback machine image from a copyright owner, we will comply and remove that link.

If you believe that MusicBrainz violates your copyright by linking to a Wayback machine image, please see CopyrightViolationNotice for details on how to report a copyright violation to MusicBrainz.


This section should contain form letters that volunteers could use to ask for permission. Please volunteer to write such a letter!


Discussion on MB-Users:


  • -- Just some thoughts from IRC... Catgroove, Freso, warp, and I discussed ASINs which don't have coverart, and whether they ought to be added. Though most supported the practice, catgroove did raise a valid point which bears mentioning. The current use of the ASIN AR is overloaded. It's essentially a "can be purchased for mail order at" AR combined with a "has coverart at" AR, while also being a useful unique identifier that other sites using MusicBrainz data can use to match their data with MusicBrainz data. However, now that Amazon also does 3rd party sales, they increasingly have ASINs which don't pull up art, as the art is user-submitted, not Amazon-created. In these cases, we could link the ASIN for all the other benefits, but then either we then add a coverart AR to get the art from a different source, or we have an ugly empty box show up in the coverart area. Catgroove raised the point that we may be implying a MusicBrainz endorsement of the 3rd party Amazon seller by linking to the Amazon listing for this sort of ASIN, and thus, might be responsible if the purchaser linked from MusicBrainz to the 3rd party via Amazon is unhappy with his/her purchase. --BrianFreud [5/20/2007] hey brian, you may want to add a link to the point in the chatlog when we started talking it, so people can read for themselves :) DeleteWhenCooked -- mo 23:23, 20 May 2007 (UTC) I would, but just like the "DateTime" string in wiki, I have no idea how to pull off the fancy-IRC-linkage-thingers :P DeleteWhenCooked --BrianFreud -- Regarding Ruoak's comment above, as I quoted, perhaps we ought to have a subpage for Artist/Label permissions and links? Stumbled onto Sub Pop's blanket permission page, in their FAQ. Could be a useful to list all the permissions together "Can I use images/sound clips/whatever from the Sub-Pop site?" "You are hereby granted official Sub-Pop permission to use unaltered Sub-Pop owned material from the Sub Pop web emporium." --BrianFreud

The Use Of's 'wayback' machine for coverarts

  • Personally I think this is pretty underhand and not very professional of us to do. If we can't get proper permission we use wayback and wait for the image owners to issue a C&D? So basically we are saying the only reason we don't steal images from the point of origin is because they could replace them with a 'Stop Stealing Images' jpg, or something less pleasant (and frankly, we would deserve it). Where's the morals, and indeed respect for other discography sites? --Gecks
    • I cannot agree more :/ - what good can we expect from links like: [[Image:m16507uneac.jpg]] or ? This IMHO is just plain bad (eg: using archive as to bypass the need for an authorization) and only calling for trouble... Please consider rethinking this. Please DeleteWhenCooked if you think I'm overstating the importance of this. -- dmppanda 12:21, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
      • Gecks and dmppanda, please note, by linking to art at, we are *not* linking to the art at the site - so in the two above examples, we are not "stealing" art from allmusic or discogs. The file that is loading is stored on an server, and we have permission from to use their art. retroactively respects the robots.txt file, as can be seen in their FAQ. Were a site to feel we were misappropriating their art, that site would need to issue a C&D, nor would they need to replace the art (indeed, since we are loading the art from's archived copy of the art, the site changing the art on that site's server would have no effect.) The site would simply need to adjust their robots.txt configuration, and the very next time attempted to scan that site, every single cover from that site we link to in the archives would immediately become a bad link. Additionally, I am not a lawyer, but ruoak says the MusicBrainz lawyers have given us a clean bill of health on this. Indeed, from my (limited) understanding, 17 U.S.C. §107 (US law) seems to be a pretty strong legal protecton. For an even better idea of this, however, take a look at discussion of the Google case decided on 5/16/07, where this protection was clarified. -- -- BrianSchweitzer 02:32, 23 May 2007 (UTC) DeleteWhenCooked
        • I don't think the lack of a robots.txt should imply permission to be archived by Plus we are 'stealing' - the ownership of copyright of a photo or scan of a record sleeve lies with the person doing the photograph/scanning (though of course he/she is possibly in breach of copyright from the original image creator). Just because we aren't using their bandwidth, doesn't mean we aren't taking someones images for our own gain against their wishes. Lets not forget that that most of the sites that seems to be coming up in these discussions are also community built (digital nirvana, discogs, etc). It's biting the hand that feeds and totally wrong. No different to creating a script to convert, say, a discogs page to a new MBz release, and run it on an snapshot (which would be dead easy). --Gecks
          • Well, in the case of Digital Nirvana, the site no longer exists. It changed control and became Live Nirvana. All the covers there, however, were contributed, to make it a repository. The users gave them expecting they would be used elsewhere, hence why Live Nirvana stopped watermarking, even though Digital Nirvana previously had done so. (Digital Nirvana only had watermarked because people *were* stealing bandwidth by linking directly to the pictured on the DN server. As for the lack of a robots.txt, it's a indutsry standard - not just, but google and the others obey it as well, depending on your selected settings. The lack of a robots.txt actually does, by my understanding of current US law, imply permission to archive a site. -- BrianSchweitzer 13:16, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
            •*/ - "We're sorry, access to has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt." - So I guess that, by your understanding of current US law, implies that livenirvana (and now consequently, digitalnirvana) have express wishes for their site NOT to be archived? Regardless of this I still think that there's no good reason to circumvent asking the webmasters permission. If we were that confident that they had no problems with us using to show their images, where's the harm in asking? --Gecks
              • Because no matter where we are sourcing the files from, the copyright remains with the original copyright owner - not any one site. The site can choose to block our using their images, but they have no ability to grant permission for us to use any image - their own use of the image is also infringing on the same copyright, if indeed any infringement is occurring. As mentioned, Digital Nirvana turned its resources over to Live Nirvana - they are not the same site; rather, one is a no-longer existent site, and the other is a site which has received many resources from the former site. DN chose to not use a robots.txt, and to use watermarks - in effect, allowing images to be directly linked to, but retaining a visible sign of provenance. LN chose to use a robots.txt, and not to use watermarks - in effect, not allowing images to be directly linked to, but allowing them to be reused elsewhere, so long as LN doesn't have to foot the bill for such hosting. -- BrianSchweitzer 13:54, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
                • So basically you don't even care about this business - as far your concerned, as long as we host the image ourselves, and aren't leeching bandwidth it's fair game to use anything from anywhere? IMO this is reprehensible regardless of the legalities, especially when it's from user-built sites, but I'll leave it at that. --Gecks
                  • No, I'm saying you're arguing different things at the same time without making clear what your issue is. Is your concern a possible copyright infringement? If so , the lawyers and recent court cases have cleared us there, hence why ruoak changed the policy. Is your concern the unauthorized use of images from a particular site? If so, a) we are not using images from that site, so no incurred bandwidth or other costs to that site, b) the site is also using the images under the same protections we have (see first possible If), b2) that 3rd party site is in no position to then authorize any use anyhow, as they are not a copyright or licensing rights holder for the art in the image, and c) that site can always choose to prevent our (and anyone else) using the images, regardless of where they are stored, by changing their robots.txt settings. Ownership of the art does not rest with the person who scans it; it rests with the original creator of the art, and we are making a fair use under US law of that art; where it originally was posted on the internet really has no bearing on the legality or "properness" of subsequent use of the image file. I really don't understand what the concern is here. -- BrianSchweitzer 15:42, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
                    • I have spoken to about this and they have expressed no objections to us deep linking. They still haven't put up a permission page because they do not feel that such a thing is necessary. But, there is nothing underhand going on here. I've spoken with Gordon Mohr from who has taken the issue up with Brewster himself and there are no issues. If I felt that something was underhanded, we would not be doing it! -- RobertKaye Template:DateTime
                      • As I said, it's not the permission granted by that's the issue, it's the fact we're not even trying to ask permission of these other sites, we're just using instead. -- Gecks Template:DateTime
                        • I think one point being missed here is that 99.999% of the sites on the net, be they fan, bootleg, "wiki", whatever, have no permission themselves to be displaying the artwork. It's not that we're stealing anything from them - just because you scan something, you receive no ownership over the art you've scanned. I've had a long time now to consider this, and my take is that, essentially, is contributing storage space and bandwidth - others too can benefit, but we also are a beneficiary of their willingness. Given that there is a very clear and stated policy for MusicBrainz's willingness to remove any images for which the proper rightsholders send a removal request, then I see absolutely no issue here. Would you also have an issue with the local paper which uses a cover image in a CD review, or a sales catalogue which uses artwork in a circular? Of course not. They are making a fair use of the image, just as we are. Even when using artwork from a label's site itself, via, we're doing it in such a way as to make the very smallest possible footprint - is issuing a single request, caching that image, then feeding us that image from their permanent cache. I've truely tried to see your point here, over several weeks and months of thought Gecks, but it all just comes back to fair use rights and the right of the rightsholder to request removal. The site that happens to originally have the scan has no rights. We're making fair use rights use, as permitted and as is protected by many different statues and court decisions. We're even going the further step of allowing the proper rightsholder carte blanche request removal - though they would, I assume, have to prove that they are in fact the proper rightsholder. -- BrianSchweitzer 02:33, 01 August 2007 (UTC)
                          • Honestly, for the last time: nothing to with the legalities! They don't 'own' that data any more than we own ours. However they have collated and built that data just as we have here. The exchange of discographic data between these resources should be transparent, and involve both parties. Not only is this what is right, it also would build relations between facilities that are essentially working to the same end. (this and indeed all but the first few responses to the initial point should probably be DeleteWhenCooked as I don't think it's been productive!) -- Gecks Template:DateTime

In edit#7523511 I was asked by mo to "please hold of adding archive links for a bit, as the legal issues are getting fussy," which I have done. In nothing of the above or at kuno/CoverArtLegalIssues is it very clear what the problem is however, so could someone spell it out clearly for the benefit of all. The most of the above seems to more about giving credit where credit is due than actual law, and the stuff on the other wiki page isn't elaborated on very much. --foolip

Encyclopaedia Metallum

I contacted Encyclopaedia Metallum about using their cover art and got a response from Morrigan:

"You may use the images on our site as you want, since we got them from our users anyway. You can save them and upload them to your web server and use as you see fit. However, I would rather not that you link the images: hotlinking ( is very bandwidth-consuming and not at all practical for us. So please, just save the images you need and upload them to wherever you want, and link from there."

So we don't should link to their cover art, but it should be no problem to use instead. -- OutsideContext 22:19, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Just a tip on They try to do a pass on the entire web every 6 to 12 months, but it can take a long time for files to actually be added to the archive. However, if a particular document is currently available on the web, there is a very easy way to "force"'s bot to add that document to the archive for immediate use - and the url remains valid forevermore thereafter. Simply take a non-robots address -, for example, and pre-fix it with (as long as the date string is correctly formatted, any valid such date string will work). When then loads the page, you'll get Remove the middle [http:// http://] (to remove a unneeded redirect), and you have a perfectly working url to the document. This works for any http-accessible document, as well as most https documents. Thus, if metal-archives, or another site, has a coverscan you need, and it's not already in, you can easily have it added, and the resulting url will continue to work so long as itself continues to exist. -- BrianSchweitzer 02:40, 01 August 2007 (UTC)

  • This works very well, thanks for the tip! However, when I tried leaving the [http:// http://] it did not cause a HTTP redirect as you said, so I just leave it in the URL. -- foolip

I've written to a couple of days ago about their affiliate program, a couple of minutes ago I've received an answer. I seems I'm not allowed to open an appropriate affiliate account for MusicBrainz, as I need to be the owner of the website or something like that, however, they were pleased to see such a project and promised to contact MB administration and propose some kind of partnership which would include affiliating. I guess they might be also interested in using MusicBrainz for more, like datafeeding their shop, but that's just pure guessing and wishful thinking on my side. In short: we might be seeing covers for russian releases on MusicBrainz in the near future. -- NikolaiProkoschenko