Universal Music Hit With Copyright Lawsuit Over Mary J. Blige’s Song “Real Love”

Universal Music Real Love

Universal Music Group (UMG) finds itself in legal hot water as Tuff City Records files a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement over a sampled track in Mary J. Blige’s 1992 hit “Real Love.”

The complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court, contends that the song contains an uncleared sample from the 1973 funk song “Impeach the President” by the Honey Drippers.

Tuff City accuses UMG of failing to address the issue despite repeated notifications.

While Blige is not named in the lawsuit, Tuff City points out that UMG Recordings, a UMG subsidiary owning the master to “Real Love,” has already resolved the matter concerning the sampled sound recording.

However, UMG’s publishing arm has allegedly refused to address the issue related to the underlying composition.

Tuff City, known for its extensive catalog of old songs, has a history of copyright litigation, having sued over unlicensed samples in tracks by artists like Jay-Z and Beastie Boys.

The lawsuit over “Impeach the President” is not unprecedented, as Tuff City previously sued Sony Music and Def Jam in 1991 over similar allegations.

The lawsuit’s timing, decades after the release of “Real Love,” raises questions, but it falls within the statute of limitations for copyright infringement. UMG has yet to respond to the allegations.

This legal battle underscores the complexities of sampling in music production and the ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with copyright laws in the industry.