Music

J Dilla Is Being Sued Over A Sample From ‘Donuts’

Donuts was released three days before J Dilla passed in 2006.

J Dilla is being sued in a copyright infringement lawsuit alleging that he sampled a rock band’s song without their permission.

In a report from Rolling Stone, the lawsuit accuses Dilla of illegally sampling 10cc’s “The Worst Band in the World,” a song from the English rock band’s 1974 album Sheet Music, for his song “Workinonit,” which appeared on Donuts. The plaintiffs — Music Sales Corporation and publisher Man-Ken Music, Ltd. initially filed the complaint back in March, and amended it in April. They claim that Dilla, as well as other defendants listed (Universal Music, E.P.H.C.Y. Publishing, and label Stones Throw Records), did not “obtain or seek to obtain” permission to sample 10cc’s song.

Per Rolling Stone:

Music Sales Corp says it is entitled to compensatory damages for the “deliberate, willful, malicious, oppressive” action — as well as the profits earned by defendants for at least the last three years, and it seeks compensation to cover attorneys’ fees and other costs related to the suit.

The suit also notes “Workinonit” being used by Netflix in two separate Dave Chappelle specials: Deep in the Heart of Texas and The Age of Spin.

In a separate report from Pitchfork, the complaint claims that defendants licensed the song to Netflix after “being informed of its infringing content.” Following its use, a demand letter was sent to defendants on July 18, 2017 regarding the licensing of the track, however “the parties have been unable to reach any resolution, thus requiring the filing of this action.”

Released in 2006, Donuts was Dilla’s final album before he passed on February 10, 2006.

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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