Kevin Winter, Getty
According to The Guardian even stranger was how the decision was made, with expert witnesses recreating the sample by simply smashing two pieces of metal together.
The case, which has been going for 12 years, began when Moses Pelham and Martin Haas sampled a snippet of the 1977 Kraftwerk song for "Nur Mir," a rap-rock song by Sabrina Setlur, an MC in Frankfurt. In 2000, Kraftwerk took Pelham and Haas to court for copyright infringement.
The judges ruled on Dec. 13 that samples not signed off by the original creators were allowed only if "the same effect could not have been produced by the new artist himself." And this is where the in-court quasi-industrial concert testimony was introduced, with the metal pieces smashed together to produce the sounds found on a 1996 Akai sampler. Basically, the defendants could have created the sound themselves without having to use the brief Kraftwerk sample.
However, the lawyer representing the defendants said the court's ruling could violate the German constitution, particularly the area of freedom of expression and the right for art to be informed "without hindrance from generally accessible sources." As a result they're taking their case to Germany's constitutional court.
The ruling was a victory for Kraftwerk in what was otherwise a headache-filled December for the group. After announcing an eight-night residency at London's Tate Modern set for February, people hunting tickets for the concerts caused the famed art gallery's server to crash.
"The menschen who, more than any other group, mechanized music and fetishized automation had ensnared both their hosts and their fans in a technological hell," a writer for The Guardian wrote last week regarding the ticket chaos.
"We had anticipated a significant volume of interest but our website was overwhelmed by the phenomenal number of people attempting to access it simultaneously," the Tate Modern said in a statement on its site following the snafu. "This meant the majority of tickets had to be sold over the phone and we apologize for the long wait and frustration this has caused. We believed that our system could cope with the volume so did not appoint a third party ticketing site."
Kraftwerk will chronlogically perform one album each night as part of Kraftwerk -- The Catalogue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 residency, a format similar to what they did this past April at New York's Museum of Modern Art.