J Dilla has been hit with a lawsuit over his Donuts cut “Workinonit” — 14 years after the album’s release and the esteemed producer’s death.
The complaint, filed in March 2020 and amended in April by Music Sales Corporation, alleges that Dilla sampled 10cc’s “The Worst Band in the World” for “Workinonit” without obtaining a license, and none of the defendants — Universal Music, E.P.H.C.Y. Publishing and Stones Throw Records — sought to obtain a license.
The suit further claims that prior to Music Sales Corporation’s exclusive administration agreement with Man-Ken Music, Ltd (the longtime owner of “The Worst Band in the World”) in 2019, the plaintiff’s predecessor notified Universal Music, E.P.H.C.Y. Publishing and Stones Throw Records of the copyright infringement around 2014. However, Stones Throw went on to release the 10th-anniversary edition of Donuts two years later.
Universal Music and E.P.H.C.Y. Publishing continued to license “Workinonit” for Dave Chappelle‘s 2017 Netflix specials, Deep in the Heart of Texas and The Age of Spin, and the audio from the comedy specials won a GRAMMY for Best Comedy Album.
Music Sales Corporation is now seeking compensatory damages for the “deliberate, willful, malicious, oppressive” action, the profits earned by Universal Music, E.P.H.C.Y. Publishing and Stones Throw Records within at least the last three years and compensation for attorneys’ fees and additional costs in relation to the lawsuit.
Dilla died in February 2006 — three days after the release of Donuts and his birthday — due to a cardiac arrest.
Elsewhere in music, A$AP Ferg is reportedly no longer a part of A$AP Mob.