Sigh… Another sample lawsuit is on the horizon. This time, soul/funk group Bloodstone is suing Universal Music Group alleging that they never had the rights to license their song “I’m Just Doing My Job“. The song was used for the T.I.’s “Doin’ my Job” produced by Kanye West (which was released 10 years ago).
According to Bloodstone, they own the masters for “I’m Just Doing My Job” and therefore UMG needed their permission to license the track for sampling. The song was originally released on Motown, which was eventually purchased by UMG.
This is a complicated one. Many artists during the 70’s thought they owned their masters, only to find out years later they didn’t (i.e. George Clinton). When labels and their catalogs are purchased, it’s not always clear on what the original agreement with the artist/song writers was. I find it hard to believe a company as large as UMG would risk licensing a song they didn’t own, but it is possible. Let’s hope Kanye and T.I. don’t get dragged into this and the burden falls on UMG.