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Judge halts NFT sale of JAY-Z's debut album

Judge sides with JAY-Z

A New York judge has slapped a temporary ban on rap producer Damon Dash's plans to allegedly sell an NFT (non-fungible token) of JAY-Z's rap classic Reasonable Doubt.

The Empire State of Mind icon launched legal action against former friend and business partner Dash on Friday (18Jun21), accusing him of attempting to cash in on the digital art form craze by offloading the copyright to his 1996 debut album in a SuperFarm Foundation online auction on 23 June, without the superstar's permission.

Reasonable Doubt was released on Roc-A-Fella Records, the now defunct label co-founded by Dash, JAY-Z, and fellow business partner Kareem 'Biggs' Burke, who each own a third of the company.

The original court papers, filed by lawyers for Roc-A-Fella, stated: "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."

On Tuesday, Manhattan federal Judge John Cronan issued a temporary restraining order to halt the NFT sale, ruling, "If the plaintiff's allegations prove true... the plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable injuries."

A follow-up hearing is set for 1 July, reports the New York Post's Page Six.

Dash has yet to respond to the legal action but on Monday, he claimed the news of the NFT auction was inaccurate, as he is actually trying to find a buyer to take over his entire share of Roc-A-Fella.

"I'm not running around to different places trying to auction off Reasonable Doubt," he told Page Six. "I've been working with one platform and that's SuperFarm.

"That's what corporate always does to the independent guy. It's a case of corporate versus independent and how they try to bully me - but they are trying to bully the wrong one."

According to TMZ, JAY-Z previously tried to buy out Dash's share of the label in March, but at a price he "deemed unacceptable".



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