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Rammstein sues Germany over indexed album

April 5, 2016

Rammstein is world famous for its provocative imagery and lyrics. Their album "Liebe ist für alle da" was indexed by German authorities in 2009. Now the band is suing the state.

Till Lindemann, singer of Rammstein, Copyright: dpa - Bildfunk
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Axel Heimken

Rammstein has filed a lawsuit against Germany for having temporarily indexed the album "Liebe ist für alle da," said a spokesperson of the Bonn Regional Court on Monday (04.04.2016). The rock band is seeking 66,000 euros (nearly $75,000) in damages.

In 2009, the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons, a German governmental agency responsible for listing works that could potentially harm youths, had decided that one of the songs of the album, "Ich tu dir weh," as well as the pictures in the booklet accompanying the CD, were "brutalizing" and "immoral." The entire album was indexed.

Once a work gets listed by the organization, it may not be advertised and can only be sold under strict conditions - limiting its potential success.

Rammstein claims it had to destroy or store nearly 85,000 copies of the album following this classification. Now the band wants to recover the damages.

Cover of Rammstein album: Liebe Ist für Alle Da, Copyright: Universal Music Austria
German authorities found this album "immoral" and "brutalizing"Image: Universal (Universal Music Austria)

Exaggerated violence as an artistic trademark

The album did not remain on the index: The Administrative Court in Cologne removed the album from the list of morally harmful works after half a year, claiming the classification to be unlawful, as it neglected considerations of artistic freedom in its decision.

The martial, exaggerated portrayal of violence is a trademark style of the band, determined the court. Such staged representations are so distorted that they cannot be considered "realistic excesses of violence."

It is unclear why Rammstein has decided to file the lawsuit only now, seven years after the indexing.

The case will be heard in court in the summer. The six members of the rock band are not required to appear in person.

eg/kbm (with dpa)