1970’s funk band Bloodstone filed suit in Missouri federal court on May 20, 2013 against Universal Music Group, Inc. (UMG) for copyright infringement of their 1979 song “I’m Just Doing My Job.” The Complaint, filed by members of Bloodstone alleges that UMG gave rappers T.I. and Kanye West a license to sample the 1979 song for use in TI’s hit “Doin’ My Job” without permission from the band. Bloodstone members Charles Love, Harry Williams, and Charles McCormick retain the sound recording and composition rights for “I’m Just Doing My Job.”
The band members allege that UMG licensed the song to the rappers without receiving permission from Bloodstone. “I’m Just Doing My Job” is heavily sampled in the T.I. song. According to the Complaint, UMG has not paid Bloodstone any compensation for use of the sample. Although T.I.’s “Doin my Job” was released in 2003, members of Bloodstone claim they were not aware of the song because they are not fans of hip-hop or rap music. Once the group became aware of the song in late 2011/early 2012, they began a search to discover who granted the unauthorized license to the rap star. After discovering UMG was behind the license, Bloodstone filed suit alleging that UMG doesn’t have the “authority to authorize the use, license or distribute the sound recording for any purpose.”
Bloodstone is seeking injunctive relief, monetary and punitive damages, in addition to the disclosure of accounting from UMG regarding how much UMG has received in licensing fees for the sample. T.I. and Kanye West, who contributed to the track, are not named as Defendants in the suit.