Editorial: The Reference as Part of the Art Form. A Turning Point in Copy­right Law?

Dagmar Hoffmann Nadine Klass

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Abstract

On 31 May 2016, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that specific forms of sampling may fall under the constitutionally protected freedom of art and takes precedence over the property interests of the rights holders (so-called sampling judgement, 1 BvR 1585/13 – “Metall auf Metall” (metal on metal)). The lawsuit concerned a two-second sample from the Kraftwerk song “Metall auf Metall” that had been used by producer Moses Pelham without permission for a Hip-Hop song performed by Sabrina Setlur. Over 19 years, the lawsuit passed through the entire German court hierarchy before recently being taken to the European level. In Germany, this ruling has revived the copyright debate on remixes and similarly transformative media practices within digital media environments. Those copyright related questions were addressed during an interdisciplinary symposium at the University of Siegen in May 2017. Experts from different fields of research presented their investigations and theoretical considerations. The symposium was based on two pillars: approaches from music, culture, and media studies on the one hand, and legal perspectives and evaluations on the other. The papers included in the thematic focus of this issue document selected outcomes of the symposium.