Photo: Mike Barry

Jay-Z Sues Roc-A-Fella Co-Founder Damon Dash

Damon Dash, Jay-Z‘s former Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder, is being sued for allegedly attempting to steal and sell the rights to Jay’s first album “Reasonable Doubt.”

According to the artist’s attorney, Dash was supposedly trying to sell Jay-Z’s debut LP as an NFT — a non-fungible digital token that’s the latest hot topic in the art market — without the artist’s consent. Jay’s career began with the release of the LP in 1996, which went on to sell over a million copies. “Dash had planned to sell at a SuperFarm Foundation online auction on June 23,” asserted lawyers for the rapper (born Shawn Corey Carter,) in fresh documents filed late Friday in New York’s Southern District Court.

“That auction was canceled, and Dash is scrambling to find a new location to hold the sale…. Before it’s too late, the sale of this priceless treasure must be halted, and Dash must be held accountable for his theft.” According to the legal paperwork, Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella co-founders Dash and Kareem Burke each hold one-third of the record company and one-third of Jay’s 1996 album “Reasonable Doubt.” The suit alleges that Dash recognized an opportunity in the rapidly growing NFT industry and “sought to cash in by actioning the copyright to Reasonable Doubt as an NFT.” The superstar rapper believes his partner already minted the record as an NFT, which he plans to sell “as soon as possible.”

“Dash can’t sell what he doesn’t own,” the complaint states. “Dash has transformed a corporate asset and broken his fiduciary obligations by pursuing such a transaction. Dash should be stopped by the court, and he should be held accountable for his heinous theft.” It also includes a statement from SuperFarm’s auction announcement – an electronic platform that allows individuals to sell and auction NFTs. “This is a watershed moment in the history of NFTs, granting the new owner rights to future revenue generated by the one-of-a-kind asset…. The freshly minted NFT will verify ownership of the album’s copyright, transferring from Damon Dash to the auction winner all future money produced by the album.” Dash “only owns a 1/3 equity interest in Roc-A-Fella Inc, he does not own the copyright….and thus has no right to sell the copyright or any individual ownership interests in Reasonable Doubt,” according to the complaint.

The auction was canceled when Jay’s attorneys, led by renowned lawyer Alex Spiro, issued a letter to SuperFarm, but “Dash has refused to stop his efforts to sell,” according to the documents. Spiro could not be reached for comment and Dash, who had lately been working at Kanye West’s ranch in Wyoming, could not be located right away.

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Author: Luke Traina

Photo: Mike Barry