Kraftwerk win 20 year legal case over ‘Metal On Metal’

The European Court of Justice ruled against the sampling of the track by hip-hop producers Moses Pelham and Martin Haas in 1999

Kraftwerk have won a long-running legal battle over their song ‘Metal On Metal’.

The case surrounds the sampling of the track, which appears on their 1997 album ‘Trans Europe Express’, by hip-hop producers Moses Pelham and Martin Haas in a 1999 track.

The ‘Metal On Metal’ sample, specifically a drum sequence repeated throughout, was used by the producers over a version of the Sabrina Setlur song ‘Nur Mir (Only Me)’.

Advertisement

The European Court of Justice has now ruled that any sample taken from an existing recording can not be used without the permission of the original producer.

However, the ECJ have ruled that modified samples that have been manipulated to such an extent that they’re no longer recognisable from their original form are able to be used without permission.

Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider-Esleben are credited as producers on ‘Metal On Metal’.

Back in 2012, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled that ‘Nur Mir (Only Me) should no longer be promoted, and that it was copyright infringement.

Advertisement

Four years later though, the higher court of the German Constitutional Court ruled that the detrimental impact of the sample on Kraftwerk did not outweigh the “artistic freedom” of the sampling producers.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement