Germany – Germany’s Constitutional Court handed a defeat to electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk by ruling that a hip-hop artist can sample a two-second beat from a band’s tracks without infringing copyright.
The ruling, which overturns an earlier decision by the Federal Court of Justice and is widely seen as setting a precedent in Germany addresses the complex legal issue of the competing interests of artistic freedom and copyright.
According to a court in karlshue of South-Western Germany, the sequences are only seconds long and led to the creation of a totally new and independent piece of work.
“The economic value of the original sound was therefore not reduced,’’ said the court, adding that banning sampling would in effect spell the end of some music styles.
“The hip-hop music style lives by using such sound sequences and would not survive if it were banned.’’
The ruling was a blow for Kraftwerk singer Ralf Huetter who argued his copyright had been breached by producer Moses Pelham in the song “Nur Mir”, German for “Only for Me”.
It was sung by rapper Sabrina Setlur, who is also known for her short relationship with former tennis star Boris Becker.
The two-second beat sequence which originally came from Kraftwerk’s track “Metall auf Metall”, or “Metal on Metal’’ was repeated in the song.
Sampling was a tricky legal area and several famous singers had been accused of stealing song ideas from original composers.(Reuters/NAN)