Jay-Z sues Damon Dash to stop NFT sale of debut album ‘Reasonable Doubt’

Attorneys for Jay-Z allege that Damon Dash was trying to sell the album as an NFT without permission. Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Damon Dash Studios; Robert Kamau/GC Images

Jay-Z is suing Damon Dash, alleging his former Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder is trying to steal and sell the copyright to Jay’s debut album “Reasonable Doubt.”

Attorneys for Jay allege that Dash was trying to sell the album as an NFT — a non-fungible digital token which is currently a big deal on the art market — without permission.

The 1996 record launched Jay’s career and went on to sell over a million copies.

In new paperwork filed late Friday in New York’s Southern District Court, lawyers for Jay state, “Dash had planned to sell at a SuperFarm Foundation online auction on Jun. 23… the copyright to Jay-Z’s album Reasonable Doubt, recognized as one of the greatest recordings in history.

“That auction was cancelled and Dash is frantically scouting for another venue to make the sale….The sale of this irreplaceable asset must be stopped before it is too late, and Dash must be held accountable for his theft.”

The paperwork explains that Jay, and Roc-A-Fella co-founders Dash and Kareem Burke each own one-third of the shares in the record label and in his 1996 album “Reasonable Doubt.”

It alleges that Dash saw an opportunity in the fast emerging NFT market and “sought to cash in by actioning the copyright to Reasonable Doubt as an NFT.” Jay believes Dash has already minted the album as an NFT and intends to sell it “as soon as possible.”

The lawsuit concludes, “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 court should stop Dash….and hold him accountable for his brazen theft.”

It also quotes the auction announcement from SuperFarm — an electronic platform that allows people to sell and auction NFTs, “This marks a new milestone in the history of NFTs, entitling the new owner to future revenue generated by the unique asset….The newly minted NFT will prove ownership of the album’s copyright, transferring the rights to all future revenue generated by the album from Damon Dash to the auction winner.”

The lawsuit points out that Dash, “merely owns a 1/3 equity interest in Roc-A-Fella Inc, he does not own the copyright….and therefore has no right to sell the copyright or any individual ownership interests in Reasonable Doubt.”

The papers add that after Jay’s lawyers — headed by power lawyer Alex Spiro — sent a letter to SuperFarm, the auction was cancelled, “but Dash has refused to stop his efforts to sell.”

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