Is It Illegal To Print An Album Cover?

Album covers can be quite inspiring and considered a piece of art. Sometimes we admire it so much that we want it hanging on our walls, but is this allowed? Is it illegal to print an album cover?

The simple answer is yes, it is illegal to print an album cover. Covers are considered a piece of artwork, and so it is copyrighted. You aren’t to use it for anything it wasn’t created for. However, there may be some workarounds to avoid getting in trouble. 

But there are many other considerations to take when you want to print an album cover that won’t be punished by the law and what you can do to print the album cover.

Is It Illegal To Print An Album Cover?

Yes, it is illegal to print an album cover, but that doesn’t mean that the artist will come after you if you do. There are many reasons for printing an album cover that is considered okay in the album cover world.

When Is It Okay To Print An Album Cover?

As long as you are just printing the album cover for personal use, you probably won’t be hearing from the artist of the album cover. You can print it off, frame it, and hang it up on your wall for aesthetics. There won’t be any lawsuits to worry about.

When Is It Not Okay To Print An Album Cover?

For the most part, you shouldn’t use a printed album cover for anything besides decoration in your room. You will need to request permission from the person who owns the copyrights for any other use, whether the artist or a specific company.

Although it usually comes down to money and if you are earning money off their work, there are other reasons when you shouldn’t print an album cover:

  • To use in your artwork.
  • For a flyer of any kind.
  • Posters.
  • Printed on a piece of clothing.

The artist may not want their album cover on these things because you aren’t earning money. This is especially the case if you try to use their work for a belief or purpose that they don’t support. 

How To Get Permission To Use Album Cover

If you do desire to use their work for a poster, your own artwork, or a flyer, you can get permission from the artist to print it out and use it. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Search for the album’s copyrights.
  2. Understand the copyrights for the cover.
  3. Find their contact information (usually where the cover is released).
  4. Call the business or artist, whoever is the copyright owner.
  5. Write an email or letter to them too.
  6. Wait for their response (you may not even get one).
  7. If they say yes, you can use the cover, but if they say no, then you’ll have to move on.

What To Include In The Letter Or Email?

When you write an email or letter for permission, you want to be as detailed as possible. Explain what you are using the album cover. They may shoot the offer down if you try to earn money without giving them a percentage.

If you already have a mock-up of the design you want to use or how you may use the cover, provide that to them. They are more inclined to give you permission if they know exactly what the cover will be used for.

Where To Get Your Own Album Art Covers?

If you are rejected, there are many other ways you can use album art covers for whatever purpose. Try looking into these methods instead:

  1. Make your own
  2. Hire a graphic designer
  3. Buy one online

1. Make Your Own

If you have a photoshop or art program like Placeit on your computer, phone, or tablet, you can create your own album art. It may be a little intimidating at first, but it could be quite fun and calming. You can also control exactly what you want it to look like.

2. Hire A Graphic Designer

You can always hire a graphic designer if you have some extra money. Some graphic designers can charge quite a bit depending on what you want to be designed, but if you don’t want to do it on your own and you want a specific design, this is the route to go.

3. Buy One Online

If you aren’t too specific on what you want on the album cover, you can always purchase a pre-made one online. You can use a website like Placeit, where artists post cover designs that are cheaper than hiring a graphic designer. 

You can also use this website to design some simple covers. You don’t have to settle for any cover, and you can make your own.


Although printing out an album cover is illegal, there are so many ways you can find an album cover for you legally. You can purchase a design, make your own, or hire someone else. This way you take the best route for printing our album and can support artists.