German Court Reverses Previously Favorable Ruling For Kraftwerk

by VVN Music

Kraftwerk have had a previously favorable ruling on copyright infringement reversed by one of Germany's highest courts.

The electronic pioneers had sued Moses Pelham for using a two second clip of the band's 1977 song Metal on Metal in his 1997 track Nur Mir and, in 2012, a court agreed that the repeated use of the sample was, indeed, copyright infringement, ordering that the song be deleted.

Pelham appealed the decision and, on Tuesday, Germany's Constitutional Court said that Pelham's artistic freedom should not be overshadowed by the use of the sample. The artist argued that rap and hip hop music relied heavily on sampling and the court agreed, saying that ruling in favor of the original recording artist would "practically exclude the creation of pieces of music in a particular style".

The German music industry has taken a firm position on Kraftwerk's side for the issues, saying that a ruling in favor of Pelham opened up the floodgates for people who claim everything on the internet is free.

Because of the ruling, lower German courts will now be forced to reexamine the original verdicts in Kraftwerk's favor. It was also suggested that the case be taken up by the European Court of Justice.

Metal on Metal is from Kraftwerk's album Trans-Europe Express.

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