Metal on Metal in German copyright law or Size doesn’t matter.

29 01 2009

On 20 November 2008 the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) handed down his decision in a case, which will probably be called the “Metall auf Metall” decision (German court decisions are usually published without the parties’ names). The aim of this decision was to clarify copyright restrictions on the use of music samples in the creation of a new piece of music. Since this technique enjoys quiet a bit of popularity amongst musicians who create modern music, such as electronic or hip hop music, the court’s decision was much awaited by lawyers and the music business alike. Though it was almost certainly impossible to satisfy everybody, it is questionable whether the court delivered the much-needed clarification.

The facts of the case


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