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Kraftwerk Loses Copyright Suit

KARSRUHE, DK (CelebrityAccess) — Electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk were dealt a legal setback after a German court ruled that a hip hop artist could use a two second beat sampled from a Kraftwerk track without infringing on their copyright.

According to The Guardian, the court, based in Karlsruhe in south-west Germany, determined that the sequences in question were only seconds long and created a "totally new and independent piece of work".

“The economic value of the original sound was therefore not diminished,” the court's ruling continued. “The hip-hop music style lives by using such sound sequences and would not survive if it were banned.”

The decision overturned a lower court, which had ruled in favor of singer Ralf Hütter, who claimed that his copyright had been breached by the producer Moses Pelham in the song Nur Mir, German for Only for Me, sung by the rapper Sabrina Setlur. Pelham sampled the sequence from Kraftwerk’s track Metall auf Metall. While the sample was only two seconds long, it was looped in the Pelham's track.

The ruling is widely seen as precedent-setting in Germany and addresses the complex legal issues of fair use and artistic freedom in regards to copyright. – Staff Writers