Hip-hop beats Kraftwerk in court ruling... again

Back and fourth.
Back and fourth.

Nearly 20 years ago, founder member of Kraftwerk Ralf Hütter sued hip-hop producer Moses Pelham for using a two-second sample without the German group's consent.

The sample was taken from Kraftwerk's 1977 track Metal On Metal, which featured on the album Trans-Europe Express, and used on Nur Mir (Only Me) by Sabrina Setlur.

Fast-forward to 2012 and the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled in favour of Hütter, stipulating that Nur Mir (Only Me) could no longer be promoted as it infringed copyright.

The defence appealed the decision, and now Germany's high court has reversed the ruling in favour of Pelham. It believes that blocking Pelham's sample would "practically exclude the creation of pieces of music in a particular style".

However, this is not the first time a court has ruled in favour of the hip-hop producer, as the Constitutional Court had originally overturned the decision back in 2008.

The sample in question can be heard from 0:36 of Metal On Metal and is used throughout Setlur's track.

It remains to be seen what the consequences of this ruling will be; perhaps this is still not the end of the matter. And if you think evading copyright law is your only worry when cutting up the beats of others, then think again and check out our8 dumb things you need to stop doing when you're sampling. Otherwise you might end up in our list of the10 best and worst sampled tunes ever...

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.