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Roc-A-Fella Records — the record label founded by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Damon “Dame” Dash, and Kareem “Biggs” Burke in 2013 — has sued Dash, alleging that the co-founder was attempting to sell a non-fungible token (NFT) of Jay-Z’s 1996 album, “Reasonable Doubt.”
“The clock is ticking. Dash had planned to sell at a SuperFarm Foundation online auction on June 23, 2021, the copyright to Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, recognized as one of the greatest recordings in history,” the lawsuit states. “That auction was canceled, and Dash is currently frantically scouting for another venue to make the sale. It’s not a matter of if, only when. But Dash does not even own Reasonable Doubt or its copyright and, therefore, has no right to sell the album or any rights to it. Instead, RAF, Inc. owns all rights to Reasonable Doubt. The sale of this irreplaceable asset must be stopped before it is too late, and Dash must be held accountable for his theft.”
“During the past year, the market for non-fungible tokens, also called ‘NFTs,’ has exploded,” the lawsuit explained. “A non-fungible token is a unit of data that is ‘minted’ and stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. Simply put, it is a digit asset recorded on the blockchain that shows proof of ownership. NFTs can be created to transfer ownership of virtually any asset — from visual art to sporting event tickets, to copyrights. NFTs can be freely bought and sold like any other asset, and some NFTs have traded for tens of millions of dollars. SuperFarm owns an online platform that mints and sells NFTs to the public.”
The lawsuit then alleges that “Dash saw an opportunity in this emerging NFT market.”
“The rights to Reasonable Doubt are highly valuable and unique. They can be used to create derivative works and generate significant financial and non-financial benefits. There is only one Reasonable Doubt — the rights to it are irreplaceable,” the lawsuit stated. “Dash knew this and sought to cash in by auctioning the copyright to Reasonable Doubt as an NFT. Though the original auction was canceled, it is believed that Dash has already minted an NFT, which he intends to sell through another auction or some other means as soon as possible”
“But, again, Dash does not own Reasonable Doubt or the rights he is unlawfully seeking to sell. And Dash’s status [as a] minority shareholder in RAF, Inc., gives him no right to sell a company asset,” the lawsuit concluded. “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. His planned auction of Reasonable Doubt would result in irreparable harm. The Court should stop Dash from attempting to sell the copyright to Reasonable Doubt, require Dash to return the NFT of Reasonable Doubt to RAF, Inc., and hold him accountable for this brazen theft of RAF, Inc.’s most prized asset.”
TMZ reported that Dash described the lawsuit as inaccurate and that he is trying to sell his minority share in RAF, and not the album itself.
“Under the terms of the deal with a potential buyer, the buyer would buy my share of Roc-a-Fella Records and Jay-Z will have exclusive administration rights” to the album, Dash told TMZ.