CJEU Backs Kraftwerk in Music Sampling Copyright Case
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that a phonogram producer can prevent another person from taking a sample, even if it is very short, and including it in another phonogram, “unless that sample is included in a modified form unrecognisable to the ear.” The Court was interpreting certain provisions of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (the 2001 Directive) in the light of the rights enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. See Pelham GmbH, Moses Pelham, Martin Haas v. Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider?Esleben (Case C-476/17, July 29 2019). The case concerned a two-second sample of the Kraftwerk track Metall auf Metall, which was used in the song Nur mir, composed by Pelham and Haas. Hütter and Schneider?Esleben, members of Kraftwerk, brought an action for copyright infringement in the German courts, and the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Germany) referred six questions to the CJEU.