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Does the artist name or album name need to be on an album cover? Is there a rule that governs this?

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Does the artist['s] name need to be on an album cover?

No.

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Is there a rule that governs this?

Sure. Some form of some name should be on the cover or spine or people won't know what they're buying; your label will be annoyed; and you'll have needlessly lower sales when stores refuse to stock it and fans can't figure out how to find it. That said, if you're famous enough, artsy enough, or limited enough (only handing out copies to your friends in the back of some homeroom) sure you can go the completely minimalist route.

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    Of course, if you're looking for the specific laws in a specific jurisdiction, go visit law.stackexchange.com, use the appropriate tags, and then still don't trust any legal advice you get for free on the internet. Go talk to an actual lawyer in your area. Some areas like the EU may have specific requirements or different requirements depending on whether you're a private musician making copies for your friends, a commercial artist personally selling your own work in small venues, or a major label selling stuff everywhere.
    – lly
    Jun 24, 2023 at 14:47

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