Copycat Crime CDs of Popular German Rapper Bushido to Be Destroyed

He may be Germany's most popular rapper, but on Tuesday, a court in Hamburg found that Bushido is also a plagiarizer. In addition to the damages he owes to the obscure French goth band he stole from, all CDs containing the songs must now be destroyed.

Bushido is the face of German hip-hop.

Bushido is the face of German hip-hop.

Bushido, long Germany's most successful rapper, is used to attracting controversy with his CDs. Usually, though, the ire of politicians and parents tend to focus on the explicit nature of his lyrics rather than on the music those lyrics are laid over.

On Tuesday, however, a Hamburg court found that Bushido was guilty of a crime that will do very little to boost his credibility amongst his young fans: copyright infringement. The aggrieved party is an obscure French gothic band called Dark Sanctuary. Bushido was convicted of using extensive riffs from their music in 13 of his songs.

"This is the worst case of looting I've ever seen," music scientist Hartmut Fladt testified for the prosecution.

The Hamburg court ordered that the 11 Bushido CDs containing the plagiarized songs be taken off store shelves and destroyed. Furthermore, the rapper was ordered to pay the defendants a preliminary settlement of €63,000 in addition to further damages, the amount of which is not yet determined.

Asking Permission Five Times

Bushido is no stranger to controversy, having become a hot topic amongst the German chattering classes in recent years. Some see him as a cultural unifier -- the son of a Tunisian father and German mother, he is one of very few entertainers of foreign descent to rise to iconic status in Germany. He attracts legions of fans among both German and immigrant youth.

Others choose to focus on his supposed affiliation with an infamous Berlin crime family and the violence and misogyny of his lyrics. He has also been accused of racism and even of harboring right-extremist views -- charges which he vigorously denies.

The explicitness of his lyrics seemed to work to Bushido's disadvantage in court on Tuesday. The judge specifically cited the violent nature of Bushido's lyrics in his verdict. "One should have to ask for permission five times [with those kind of lyrics]," Judge Bolko Rachow said.

It was not the first time that Bushido, whose given name is Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi, has fallen afoul of copyright laws. In 2007, he reached an out-of-court settlement with the Norwegian metal band Dimmu Borgir after he took riffs from their songs.

It was unclear on Wednesday whether Bushido would appeal the ruling.

ldb -- with wires

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