Official MP3 Release Rules 1.0

  1. No Dupes !
    Complete albums/releases are checked, not single tracks. So a release is not a dupe if it has different or more tracks.
    1. It's also a dupe if the complete release is included in a previous one. For example CDM is released, now someone releases the CDS and all tracks of the CDS were already included on the CDM (excactly the same tracks).

    2. You are allowed to create a duplicate release from a release that has a source of lower quality.
      Example: if vinyl is out then a CD-release is allowed.
      If you do that then please add this info to NFO and dirname. For online bought MP3s (-WEB-) we assume the best source quality (CDDA or better) -> you need proofs that your source is better if you want to dupe a web release.

    3. All MIXED cds should be ripped as one track supplied with a .cue. If they are not, they may be duped by another group that releases it as one track with a .cue supplied.

    Note: if you want to release an import-album or some "extendend edition" then check rule 7 as well !

  2. An .SFV and .NFO file must be included in every release.
    If you release a CUE file for multitrack mp3s then the CUE file must include artist and tracknames if they are available on the cover or inlay.

  3. Directoryname must at least contain:
    1. Artist Name - Title - Published Year (decimal) - Group name
      (extra info is allowed of course)

    2. All bootleg releases must have the word BOOTLEG in dirname. (check bootleg rule 14)

    3. If you release magazine CDs then you must tag them as -MAG-. Don't tag them -PROMO-, -ADVANCE- etc..

    If a vinyl/cd has no title then it's allowed to replace the title by labelname+catnumber (both!). If there is only one artist on the vinyl/cd then you must add the artistname.

  4. Filename must at least contain:
    Track Number - Song Title
    If it's an album with different artists (one artist per track) then you must add the artist name as well ("VA-tracks" like mixes don't need artistnames).
    Make sure that your filename is unique otherwise some sites might dupeskip.

    If no tracknames are supplied by the source (cd,vinyl,..) then you *must* provide proof that these tracks have no names. Either by a scan of the original cover of the record company/label (no selfmade cdr or bootleg covers) or a link to an official or trusted webpage with proofs. If these "untitled tracks" are part of a big mix (no silence between the "tracks") then it's considered as one track and you must rip it as one mp3/cue and give this track same name as the "album".

  5. Files/directories must only contain characters a-z A-Z 0-9 _ . - ()
    This is to avoid problems with windows/linux-filesystem and ftp-servers.

  6. Self-made releases
    1. Self-made compilations are not allowed !
      A self-made compilation is when you select tracks from other sources, put them together and release that as something new.

    2. A self-made MIX or completely self-made music is allowed if it's good. Sites decide if it's shit by nuking it.
      If you are releasing self-made stuff then that must be clearly visible in your nfo.
      If it's not possible to see that it's self-made then it will get nuked as bad pack.

      Exception: if the selfmade release is free available at release time or when you obviously know that it will be available soon then it's not allowed to release it.

    If it's not clear if it's selfmade or not and it's not possible to find any information about the release/artist/label then it's up to the group to prove that this release is not selfmade (coverscan, url, ...). If they are not able to prove that it's real it will get nuked as bad pack.

  7. The entire CD,Vinyl,etc. must be released (not individual tracks)
    If you think it's too much work to rip all tracks you better don't rip at all. Releasing the complete CD/Vinyl/.. is necessary because otherwise it would be possible to make several (different) releases of the same cd/vinyl/etc..

    Exception for albums:
    If a RETAIL album has been released in different editions and the only difference is one or more bonus tracks (imports) then it's allowed to release the bonustrack(s) only. But you may NOT re-release an entire inital edition within the first three months.

    Example: album released in US with 10 tracks, japanese edition with 11 tracks (1 bonus track that is a new song) then you MUST release the jap bonus track only (without including previously released tracks of the US album) during the first three months after first full retail release. If it's more than 3 months later then you are allowed to do either the bonustrack-only or the full album.

    Moreover, it is NOT allowed to re-release a new edition of an retail album EVER if the extra/bonus tracks are already included in one (!) previous release. For example, USA album is released and four months later japanese with simply a remix from an old CDM/CDS still wouldn't be allowed.

    For DVD(A) releases check Rule 10.

  8. Current maximum directory/filename-length is 128 characters
    Exception: Dirfixes that reach the limit by adding "-DIRFIX-"

  9. No fake-releases
    It's a fake release when artist, title, group or source is incorrect (different).
    - Some_Artist-Crappy_Music-2004-GRP not released by GRP
    - Another_Artist-Lots_of_Noise-CDM-2004-GRP was ripped from TV or downloaded from a paysite
    - Madonna-Something_New-2004-GRP really containing some tracks by Marilyn Manson

  10. DVD/DVDA Ripping
    A DVD/DVDA release must contain all music tracks. Additional tracks (interviews etc.) are optional. If those extra tracks are not included then a proper (with ALL tracks) or an additional release (extra tracks only) is not allowed.

    If tracks are available in several audio formats then you must use the "best" version.
    Priority is:
    - PCM stereo (doesn't matter if DVDA or CDDA quality)
    - PCM 3+ channels
    - AC3 (dolby digital) stereo or DTS stereo
    - AC3 (dolby digital) 3+ channels or DTS 3+ channels
    - MPG

    - DVD contains AC3 5.1 and AC3 2.0 => you must rip the AC3 2.0 tracks
    - DVD contains PCM and AC3 2.0 => you must rip the PCM tracks
    - DVD contains MPG and AC3 2.0 => you must rip the AC3 2.0 version

    Normalizing the sound volume is allowed but optional.

  11. Encoding Quality
    1. For releases made from MP3s (online bought):
      VBR (all combinations, but no maximum bitrate limit) and CBR is allowed. The minumum bitrate for CBR is 192kbit.

      => You release the MP3 as is. It is NOT allowed to re-encode! If the source is below 192 kbit CBR it's not allowed to release it. Release the MP3 unmodifed as you downloaded it. Only adding/changing ID3 tag is allowed.

    2. For ALL other sources (CD, Vinyl, DVD, etc.):
      You must use either:
      - LAME 3.97 (final version!) with preset V2 and VBRNEW ("-V2 --vbr-new") or
      - LAME 3.90.3 (modified version preferred) with preset APS ("--alt-preset standard").
      For both LAME versions additional switches which would affect the mp3 quality are forbidden, especially no minimum or maximum bitrate limits.

      If you use LAME 3.90.3: preset must either be stored in mp3 header (= modified LAME version) or be part of info in your nfo file.

      (If you are going to change your encoder now then switch to 3.97. LAME 3.90.3 will be removed from this rule sooner or later)

  12. Promos
    If a release is considered not to have every track from the source then it must be labeled as a promo and can be duped by any legitimate retail release that DOES contain all tracks. The legitimate release can be identified by the CAT number, or more suitable proof.

    Promos do not have to contain track listings, they are promotional material, they are not considered legitimate releases, and are still governed by quality rules.

    If you release a promo when the retail is already out then you must provide proof that this promo is real to make sure this is not a selfmade "promo".

    to reduce amount of fakes:
    A one track promo single release must include cover scans/photos.

  13. Re-encodes are not allowed.
    Exception: releases of following sources are currently allowed if they are tagged correctly:
    DVD, DAB, DTV/DVB/ISDB (compressed digital tv/radio sat,cable,terrestrial), MD (live)

  14. All bootleg releases must have the word BOOTLEG in dirname
    A bootleg recording is a cd/vinyl/dvd that was not officially released by the person/company owning the rights to do that (for example streetmixes, pirate live cds, etc).

    Because very often it's not 100% clear if something is bootleg there are conditions when we assume something is or isn't bootleg. This is not a defnition of "bootleg" and if a condition is not true then it does not mean the opposite is true. This only helps nukers and groups to decide if a bootleg tag is needed and hopefully leads to more fair nuking.

    conditions for:
    [records done completely by the artist] (no samples from other artists)
    It's bootleg if ...
    - there are no signs that the label really released this
    - the "label" has no connection to the artist
    (independent releases (no label, own label) are allowed and don't need a bootleg tag)

    even if the conditions above are true it is NOT bootleg if:
    - the record is available at at least 3 major retail shops

    conditions for:
    [mixes] (samples of other artists included)
    It's not bootleg if ...
    - the record is available at at least 3 major retail shops
    - the label exists and lists the record and the label never released any bootlegs and released stuff that was available at major retail shops
    - the artist or label of the samples confirms this release is valid (on their webpage or some other trusted place)

    "major retail shops" currently are: (.de, .fr ...) (.gr, .fr, .jp) (US shop excluded)

    The shop itself must sell the record (no private sellers).

  15. FREE MP3s
    If music in mp3 format in acceptable quality (CBR 192kbit minimum) or files in a lossless format (wav/flac/...) are legally available for download on the net at no cost (artist / record company allows it) then it's NOT allowed to release those files or mp3s of the same tracks you made from this or other sources (cd/vinyl/...).

  16. SOURCE
    The tracks of a release must all be from the same source and have the same quality/cbr-bitrate/vbr-setting. Taking tracks from other scene releases or internal group releases of other groups is strictly forbidden.
    If the source is not a pressed CDDA then the directory name needs a valid source tag. Valid tags are listed below.
    Source DirTag needed (enforced) DirTag suggested Extra NFO info needed
    CD SINGLE (pressed) -CDS- or -CDM- - -
    CD ALBUM (pressed) - -CDA- (-2CDA- -3CDA- etc.) -
    CD OTHER (pressed) - -CD- (-2CD- -3CD- etc.), -CDEP- -
    VINYL ALBUM -LP- or -VINYL- -LP- -
    DVD (pressed video DVD) -DVD- (-2DVD- -3DVD- etc.) - - codec of source (AC3, PCM, MPG, DTS),
    - number of channels of source (stereo, 5.1, ...)
    DVD SINGLE (pressed video DVD) -DVDS- or -DVD- -DVDS- - codec of source (AC3, PCM, MPG, DTS),
    - number of channels of source (stereo, 5.1, ...)
    DVDA (PCM data of a pressed DVDA,
    not audio of a video DVD!)
    -DVDA- (-2DVDA- -3DVDA- etc.) - number of channels of source (stereo, 5.1, ...)
    SACD -SACD- (-2SACD- -3SACD- etc.) - -
    ANALOG RADIO (terrestrial) -FM- or -RADIO- -FM- -
    ANALOG TV (terrestrial) -TV- - -
    ANALOG SAT -SAT- - -
    DIGITAL TV (digital tv/radio) -DTV- - -
    Note: Because most of the "live" ripping crews are unable or unwilling to add a correct source ALL live sources are handled like re-encodes quality-wise.
    WEB - audio files legally available on the net and not free -WEB- - - codec of source (MP3, PCM, ...),
    - bitrate of source file (if not PCM/WAV),
    - URL to some shop where it's available in that format
    CDR (small label/artist releasing on CDR) -CDR- (-2CDR- -3CDR- etc.) - -
    DVDR (small label/artist releasing on DVDR) -DVDR- (-2DVDR- -3DVDR- etc.) - - codec of source (AC3, PCM, MPG, DTS),
    - number of channels of source (stereo, 5.1, ...)
    MD (MiniDisc) -MD- - -
    DAT TAPE -DAT- - -
    HOMEMADE (done by a groupmember or close friend) -HOMEMADE- - -

    All other "sources" are invalid source tags (-LIVE- , -LINE- , -EP-, ...). Which means you need a second tag for the source if you use those tags (except for CDs which don't need a source tag).

    Additional to the source media the source of the recording is needed for direct live recordings:
    -AUD- audience microphone
    -SBD- soundboard
    -BOOTLEG- [unknown]
    example tag: -AUD-DAT- -SBD-CDR- ... or in nfo: "Source: SBD->CDR"
    (if your pc was connected directly to the recording device then no source media is needed of course)
    If the source media is digital and you used an analog device (eg. line-in) while converting the sound to mp3 then this must also be mentioned in your nfo file.
    example: "SOURCE: SACD->ANALOG LINE->PC"

  17. Trackfixes
    Only one trackfix per release is allowed. If the release needs a second trackfix or more than 50% of the tracks need a fix then you must re-rip the whole release and all previous releases+dir/nfofixes getting nuked.
    A 1-track fix for a 2-track release is allowed (=50% and not "more than 50%").

  18. ID3 Tags
    All mp3 files need an ID3 v1.1 tag. This tag must include *correct* Artist, Title and Album. The fields Year, Genre and Tracknumber must be present but may not be nuked if incorrect.
    An additional ID3 v2 tag is allowed and recommended.

  1. Releases with an apparently incorrect year may not be nuked. However the year should be correct of course. Keep in mind that a lot of sites nuke for fake year when it's incorrect. (The Year in dirname is not the year when you released it but when the record company/artist published it!)
  2. If a release labeled as "advance" is identical to the retail version then the advance turns into a retail release. This means then it is not allowed to dupe it and it counts as retail for ALL rules. If the retail is different then of course it's allowed to release it.
  3. Typos (in dirname, trackname, id3, etc ...) are tolerated if it still is readable and either artist or title is 100% correct.
  4. The audio of a normal video DVD is *NOT* DVDA ! The audio of a DVD usually is MP2/AC3/DTS compressed (lossy) while the audio of a real DVDA is high quality PCM (lossless, e.g. 24bit/192khz). Tagging a normal DVD release as -DVDA- will get nuked.

2007-01-15 first version (v1.0)

V1.0 active since 2007-01-15, signed by: