Judge rules in favour of Kraftwerk in long running sampling battle

German supreme court makes ruling after 12 years

A German court has ruled in favour of Kraftwerk in a 12 year-old court case surrounding a two second sample of their music.

The case centres around a brief sample of their 1977 song ‘Metall auf Metall’ by producers Moses Pelham and Martin Haas. The producers are accused of using an unauthorised sample of the track in their song ‘Nur Mir’, performed by Sabrina Setlur.

The case has been running since 2000 and the December 13 Supreme Court ruling is the first significant advancement since 2004 when a Hamber lower court banned ‘Nur Mir’. However, the song was reinstated two years later.

According to The Economist, reporting from inside the court, Pelham and Haas’ case hinged on their ability to perform the sample they lifted from Kraftwerk at the time they made their song. It was ruled, with a 1996 Akai sampler played in court, that they could have made the sounds themselves rather than using the Kraftwerk sample.

The ruling could have huge ramifications for the world of music, where sampling is a part of the culture, with Pelham and Haas’ lawyer Udo Kornmeier claiming the ruling could be used to outlaw sampling entirely.

Meanwhile, The Tate Modern in London were recently forced to apologise after a huge surge of traffic surrounding Kraftwerk tickets caused their website to crash and many fans miss out on tickets to see the band perform live in the capital next year. Kraftwerk will perform a different album each night for eight consecutive nights in February 2013.