Kraftwerk Lose Copyright Case After Hip Hop Producer Samples Their Music
Written by Mike Hohnen on 2nd June, 2016
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Legendary electronic trio Kraftwerk have come up short in the courts after taking on what they believed to be an instance of copyright infringement, with a German court ruling that an artist’s use of a two-second sample from the band’s catalogue was totally above board.
As Reuters reports, Kraftwerk singer Ralf Huetter claimed that his copyright had been compromised by a two-second Kraftwerk sample used throughout the single Nur Mir (German for ‘Only For Me’), produced by hip hop producer/composer Moses Pelham for the German rapper Sabrina Setlur.
Germany’s Constitutional Court took a surprisingly 2016 view of Huetter’s claim, ruling in favour of Pelham because the sampling “led to the creation of a totally new and independent piece of work… the economic value of the original sound was therefore not diminished”.
The ruling went as far as to say that sampling is a vital part of hip hop production, saying, “The hip hop music style lives by using such sound sequences and would not survive if it were banned.”
The ruling also overturned an earlier decision by the Federal Court of Justice, and is now seen as having set a precedent in Germany.
The sample in question was originally used in Kraftwerk’s 1977 track Metall auf Metall, which you can catch below alongside the song which sampled it, Nur Mir.
Listen: Kraftwerk – Metall auf Metall
Watch: Sabrina Setlur – Nur Mir