Martin Shkreli accused of copying and sharing Wu-Tang Clan album

Martin Shkreli accused of copying and sharing Wu-Tang Clan album

Martin Shkreli Accused of Copying and Sharing Wu-Tang Clan Album

Martin Shkreli, the controversial investor known for his “Pharma Bro” persona, is embroiled in a new legal battle. He is accused of retaining and sharing digital copies of a unique Wu-Tang Clan album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” which he was compelled to sell after his 2017 securities fraud conviction.

The lawsuit, filed by the cryptocurrency collective PleasrDAO, claims Shkreli violated their agreement by keeping digital copies of the album and distributing them to his social media followers. PleasrDAO purchased the album from Shkreli for $4.75 million, believing he had destroyed all digital traces of the music.

In the lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal court, PleasrDAO points to Shkreli’s recent social media activity, where he boasted about sharing the album with “thousands of people.” Over the weekend, Shkreli hosted a livestream on X, referring to it as a “Wu-Tang official listening party,” during which he played portions of the album.

Shkreli has not responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit. This legal action adds another chapter to the saga of the album, which was created as a protest against the devaluation of music in the streaming era. The Wu-Tang Clan auctioned the album in 2015, and Shkreli, infamous for inflating the price of a life-saving drug, purchased it.

Following his fraud conviction, Shkreli was forced to sell the album, which came in a hand-crafted silver and nickel case and included a 174-page leather-bound book. PleasrDAO acquired the physical copy and digital rights in two transactions, in 2021 and 2024, under the impression that Shkreli had destroyed any remaining digital files.

The lawsuit argues that any public dissemination of the album’s music diminishes its value and damages PleasrDAO’s reputation and ability to commercially exploit the album. As of last month, the album was set to be featured at Australia’s Museum of Old and New Art, with private listening sessions planned.

PleasrDAO’s complaint highlights Shkreli’s repeated admissions of retaining and sharing the album. In a livestream shortly after his release from prison in May 2022, Shkreli played the album for his followers, stating, “Yeah, that’s the Wu-Tang album for all you crazy streamer people.”

On June 22, 2022, Shkreli allegedly admitted to still having a copy of the album, saying, “I was playing it on YouTube the other night even though somebody paid $4 million for it.” He further claimed to have made MP3 copies, stating, “Of course I made MP3 copies, they’re like hidden in safes all around the world… I’m not stupid. I don’t buy something for two million dollars just so I can keep one copy.”

Shkreli’s actions continued into this year, with him allegedly trolling PleasrDAO directly on social media. After the collective posted a photo of the album, Shkreli responded with comments like, “LOL I have the mp3s you moron” and “I literally play it in my discord all the time.”

In a YouTube video from May, Shkreli claimed he “burned the album and sent it to like, 50 different chicks,” adding, “Do you know how many blowjobs that album got me?” He later posted on X, “look out for a torrent im sick of this shit @PleasrDAO.”

PleasrDAO is seeking a court order to force Shkreli to destroy his copies of the album and forfeit any money made from sharing it. They are also asking for compensatory and punitive damages.

Shkreli, unfazed by the lawsuit, responded to PleasrDAO’s post about the complaint on X, saying, “PleasrDAO never voted or discussed this litigation with members. You will easily lose this legal retardation. The pleasr members don’t support this gayness. See you in court!”

Neither Shkreli nor a representative for the Wu-Tang Clan has responded to requests for further comment. The lawsuit comes just days before the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, Australia, is set to open an exhibition featuring “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” The exhibit will run from June 15 through 24, with 30-minute listening sessions offered twice a day.

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