Piracy on release in MB

I ran into this release while visiting the artist page for a different edit as it was missing some core data. My question is that the release, most specifically, is directly promoting music piracy, as it has the web site printed clearly on the cover art.

Is there a policy on this and how to handle it? I understand the no support for piracy, and know that bootlegs sort of walk on that line, but this one is different to me because you cannot hide the piracy aspect since it is printed right on the artwork. The site not only has “legit” bootlegs, but also copies of clearly pirate albums, meaning that unlike this one, those albums are available for sale from the artists / record labels. This means the cover art promotes this, and if I add a reference for it, that is a piracy reference, which I believe is advised against as well.

So if one of the admins could advise on an official direction for this, that would be great. Until then, I am refraining from edits to the release.

EDIT: Ahead of a likely question… there is no other place I can find offering this release, or a cover with no web site printed on it. I can however generate a cover art version without said link on it quite easily.

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I would actually keep this release, it looks to me just like most other bootlegs distributed online. But it definitely should be changed to bootleg, currently it is set as official which is clearly wrong. I went ahead and changed that.


Ok, as long as the MB powers ok it, all is good here. Yes, for sure, official would be wrong. There are many other things to add/change there too. Would you prefer a copy of the artwork with no website on it to replace what is there? Specifically meaning a few seconds of edit and with GIMP magic it is gone. Personally, I do this for all my bootlegs with questionable data on them, whether it is “official” or not.

EDIT: and what about a reference? I am on edge with that one too. Yes it is bootleg, but the site is not a bootleg site, but a full pirate site that has bootlegs.

I do agree that the release should be documented, but that cover art is something else. If I had been the one to add the release, I wouldn’t have attached that cover image; I am uncomfortable adding watermarked images in general, but I strongly oppose adding images with watermarks for pirate or otherwise sketchy sites (e.g. porn sites; this actually happened).

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Now that is funny…

The cover art was initially added and voted down, then added again later by another. I can upload a fixed image as I tend to agree with you, and I see I am not alone now. With bootlegs, it is sort of implied there is some sort of piracy and it is even sometimes just overlooked, but in this case, it is being advertised.

EDIT: Please have a look at the image. There is an edit to add, and an edit to remove the marked one. If all looks ok, then we are set with that. I just did a quick fix, nothing too special. The image is low quality anyway.

I would say to keep both of them, with the photo-shopped one set as the primary. This way if anyone else wants to take a shot at removing the watermark themselves they can.
The photo-shopped one kind of looks like vaseline was smeared on it.

Decision from above is that we should avoid links to piracy even in cover art, so let’s not keep the other one.


I can do it again, and do better. I just ran it through quick as the quality is so poor. But I can make it match up better. I know exactly what you mean by “looks like vaseline was smeared on it”.

I will first look more to see if I can find a better starting image, then remove it with some effort into it. It will be better, but it will never be perfect.

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I understand if there are legal concerns, but something about us making a modified version and throwing away the original rubs me the wrong way.

At the very least I think the comment should make clear that the image was modified. Maybe there should be cover art type added for this sort of situation if it’s happened before?

I would suggest something like redacted with a type definition of:

artwork which cannot be present in its unaltered form in the Cover Art Archive and has been modified to remove watermarks or links to pirate, pornographic, or otherwise sketchy sites


Well, let me know either way. I have a better copy of it if wanted. This is nothing that is really original quality or form to start with, but I do see your point. Regardless of the starting quality, modifying it further reduces that quality.

It is just my opinion, but if I had the files for this release and was keeping it, the original image would not be kept. It is a hack job to start with and the link tops it off for me. But that is a preference. I am open to what is wanted here, since it is not my collection. But I do side with the opinion that any direct reference to piracy should not be here. As it relates to this topic, that would mean the cover art and the reference, since the reference is a clear pirate site vs a bootleg / collectors site.

RE: “if it’s happened before?” - absolutely, it is actually somewhat common on bootleg releases to be tagged in some way. Me, I sometimes try to remove the tagging quickly, or I find the original images that were used and just recreate it. Or if it is real bad, I just scrap it and either see if someone else made a cover or make my own.

If you wish, I uploaded the original, the first quick fix and a better quality fix here:

It uses the MBID for the image. Adding the (1) is the quick fix and the (2) is the better quality fix. Just an option(s) if you like, no need to use if not desired. Just trying to be helpful and keep piracy out as much as possible.

Oh I understand, the question mark was for the rest of the sentence; should have written “because it’s happened before”.

What is your thought about a “redacted watermark” tag though? I think it would be a great way to tag this sort of stuff, and make it clear that the cover art was modified and why.

Also, wow. you weren’t kidding, that is a really bad original to start off with.

Yeah, the image is very poor. It is just not worth the time to go further than I did on the second go. I have gone pixel by pixel before to clean an image, but there is no clarity to work with at all.

That is a decent idea. Basically that the original image was in some way modified in order to comply with MB policies, then the reasoning stated. I also think it might be something to restrict to bootleg releases only. I would hate to open the door to people thinking that images can be modified and that it is acceptable.

My thoughts exactly. How does this sound:


The image has has been modified because it could not otherwise be uploaded to the Cover Art Archive. The is because the original image included watermark links to pirate, pornographic, or otherwise sketchy sites. For use only with bootleg releases.

Should I repost this in the #musicbrainz:devel subforum?

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I would think the word “bootleg” should be left out of there or changed to “pirate”. Concert bootlegs can sometimes be semi-official. Some bands don’t mind recordings of gigs being out there. Whereas this looks more like a pirate release so makes sense the source is censored.

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I disagree, there is no “pirated” release type, so this would be more confusing for any newcomers. Saying bootleg specifically makes it clear that you should not consider touching this option unless your release is type:bootleg.

Besides, it isn’t really pirated itself, it’s a bootleg recording that was hosted on a piracy site, right? I guess I’m not that familiar with how bootlegs and pirated copies work, but it would make more sense to stick with terminology that the documentation already defines, no?

Overall, I like the proposed definition of

RE: Bootleg vs pirated
My opinion is that a bootleg differs from pirated because the bootleg provides a unique product, whereas pitated is a copy/duplication of another product offered for free, allowing the recipient to bypass the proper legal acquisition methods.

So for this, I would say it is a bootleg release, but it is hosted on a pirate site. I agree the artwork looks of pirate, but I would hate to judge a bootleg release by its cover, since the release is, or should be, all about the audio content and not its decorations. But I agree this one crosses further over the line, thus my asking on this one. I have entered many bootleg / street releases but always stick to reputable references, like DatPiff for example. In this case, I cannot find a reference I feel ok posting. So my dilemma is what to do? I believe that references are important to releases, especially those without physical products to capture in picture. But when the only reference is “improper”, what to do.


For the time being, I would say upload the better photo-shopped image and add “pirate site watermark redacted” to the comment or something similar. Maybe also link to this thread in the edit notes for posterity.

I would almost say to make the image a quarter resolution, since it would hide the JPEG artefacts slightly.

Well, I have tracked down what looks to be the source image used to create this cover:


Nice find. If I had that release in my library, I would be tempted to try and recreate a better quality version of the cover for personal use.

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I do that same thing, which is partially why I shared what I found. I do not have the release though, but since the artwork was clearly created in a very poor style and unofficially, this would provide a motivated person to make new artwork either matching or resembling the original one… which to me is not worth anything on a personal level, but is on a MB level.

One big reason I firmly support all original artwork is because when trying to identify a release, you will have what the release comes with, even if it is poor or inappropriate. That is what ended me with the proposal that maybe such artwork should be censored vs modified, if that makes sense. At least the viewer knows something was blocked out vs never having been there.