Judge blocks sale of Jay-Z’s first album and its copyright as an NFT

A New York judge has issued a temporary restraining order to block an alleged attempt from Roc-A-Fella Records Inc (RAF) co-founder Damon Dash to sell a tokenized version of Jay-Z’s first album “Reasonable Doubt” along with its copyright.

Dash however has claimed he was only trying to sell his stake in RAF.

Rapper Jay-Z co-founded RAF with Damon Dash and Kareem Burke back in 1996. The record label has split ownership between the three, with the company owning the full copyright to the album in question.

RAF asserted that Dash was attempting to auction off a tokenized version of the album and its copyright on SuperFarm on June 23, an NFT marketplace co-created by crypto YouTuber ElioTrades. While that auction was cancelled the complaint alleges Dash is “frantically” trying to arrange another.

New York District Judge John P. Cronan agreed to halt the sale and restrain Dash from selling the copyright to the album until at least after a July 1 hearing.

A complaint filed on June 18 shows a number of claims against Dash, including breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion, and replevin. It reads:

“The bottom line is simple: Dash can’t sell what he doesn’t own. By attempting such a sale, Dash has converted a corporate asset and has breached his fiduciary duties.”

The complaint cites an announcement from SuperFarm before the auction on June 23, in which the NFT platform said that it is “proud to announce, in collaboration with Damon Dash, the auction of Damon‘s ownership of the copyright to Jay-Z’s first album Reasonable Doubt,” with RAF asserting that the NFT has already been minted on the blockchain.

Related: Beyond the hype: NFTs’ actual value is still to be determined

The plaintiff’s prayer for relief includes nominal damages, punitive damages, the cost of the lawsuit and attorney fees, and the enjoinment of Dash from selling any interest in the album.

Speaking with Rolling Stone on June 22, Dash slammed the complaint, claiming that he never minted the album as an NFT, and was only attempting to sell his stake in the company:

“There hasn’t been an announcement. There wasn’t an announcement at all. Don’t you think that if I made an announcement that I’m selling Reasonable Doubt you would’ve heard about it?”

“What they’re accusing me of is minting a whole album. So if it’s already minted, it’s already on the blockchain, that means it’s already there. It never happened, and they know it never happened,” he added.


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