The sale of Jay-Z’s first album in NFT format has ended up in court.
The plaintiffs are the RAF label, founded by Jay Z himself and Damon Dash, and indeed Damon Dash, who attempted to sell Reasonable Doubt in NFT format.
Reasonable Doubt is Jay-Z’s first album released in 1996. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, Damon Dash wanted to turn it into NFT and offer it for sale on the Superfarm platform. However, Roc-a-Fella (RAF), the record company founded by the rapper and Damon Dash, prevented the sale, which was to take place via auction on 23 June.
The record company complained that Damon Dash did not have the copyright to sell the album. Not only that, but the sale of the NFT via auction would have allowed the winner to win the rights to future revenue from the album.
This has angered the record company, which claims Damon Dash has no rights to Jay-Z’s debut album.
Damon Dash, on the other hand, claimed that through the auction, he was selling his share in Roc-a-Fella.
According to Rolling Stones reports, The record company’s lawyers wrote that:
“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”.
Damon Dash’s version is different:
“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”.
A court of law will establish the truth. Although the real problem is that there are very few cases on NFTs to have solid case law on the subject.
Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt case is therefore destined to set the standard.
Jay-Z and NFTs
The fact that Jay Z entered the world of NFTs would not have been surprising. The rapper seems to be very interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
In particular, he seems to have established a partnership with Jack Dorsey to popularize Bitcoin. This relationship was later sealed by the rapper joining the board of Square, the other payments company owned by Twitter’s founder, which is heavily involved in the use of Bitcoin.