On 29 July 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on the copyright implications of sampling in music and established criteria as to when sampling falls within the scope of artistic freedom. Sampling is taking a portion of a sound recording and reusing it in a different song. The case was brought before the CJEU following a two-decades-long legal dispute between German electro-pop band Kraftwerk and German producer Moses Pelham.
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In 2013, several artists and music production companies filed a constitutional complaint with the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) against two Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) rulings (I ZR 112/06I ZR 182/11) that held that the sampling of a two-second sound sequence was not admissible under the German Copyright Act (UrhG). In music, “sampling” is the act of taking a portion of one sound recording and reusing it in a different song or piece. Sampling is particularly common in modern hip-hop and electronic music.

The complainants argued that the Federal Court of Justice rulings violated their fundamental right to artistic freedom enshrined in Art. 5 para. 3 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz, GG). On 31 May 2016, the First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court granted the constitutional complaint.
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