Jay-Z label settles lawsuit over 'Reasonable Doubt' NFT

DJ Khaled unveils his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
  • Roc-A-Fella said Damon Dash could not sell interest in rap legend's album
  • Dash said lawsuit was part of Jay-Z's attempt to get his stake in label

(Reuters) - Rapper Jay-Z's former label Roc-A-Fella Records Inc has settled a lawsuit claiming label co-founder Damon Dash improperly planned to sell his stake in Jay-Z's landmark debut album in the form of a non-fungible token, according to a Monday filing in Manhattan federal court.

Roc-A-Fella won a restraining order blocking the sale last year after U.S. District Judge John Cronan found the label was likely to win in court. The label had asked for a declaration that Dash owned no rights in the 1996 album "Reasonable Doubt" and said the planned sale would breach his fiduciary duty as a co-owner.

The case was one of the first copyright disputes related to NFTs.

The parties' attorneys declined to comment on the settlement. The agreement dismisses the case without prejudice, meaning the claims could be refiled in the future.

Dash founded Roc-A-Fella with Jay-Z and Kareem Burke in 1995 as equal shareholders. Roc-A-Fella and Dash stipulated Monday that the label owns "Reasonable Doubt" and that no shareholder has any individual rights to it.

Dash told the court last year that he had not made an NFT or tried to sell his rights to the album. He said the lawsuit was part of a scheme to block him from selling his stake in Roc-A-Fella so Jay-Z could acquire it for "an amount far below its potential market value."

The settlement specifically allows for Roc-A-Fella shareholders to sell their ownership interests in the label, according to the Monday court filing.

The case is Roc-A-Fella Records Inc v. Dash, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:21-cv-05411.

For Roc-A-Fella: Alex Spiro of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

For Dash: Natraj Bhushan of Turturro Law

Read more:

Jay-Z label Roc-A-Fella blocks co-founder’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’ NFT auction

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, for Reuters Legal. He has previously written for Bloomberg Law and Thomson Reuters Practical Law and practiced as an attorney. Contact: 12029385713