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Martin Shkreli dropped from Wu-Tang copyright infringement case

By | Published on Thursday 21 April 2016

Wu-Tang Clan

Martin Shkreli has been dropped from a copyright infringement lawsuit relating to the single copy Wu-Tang Clan album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’. Which hopefully brings us one step closer to being able to put him back in the ‘Not Music News’ file.

As previously reported, the controversial pharmaceuticals exec bought the lone copy of the album for $2 million last year. Shkreli then showed off his prize to Vice, which revealed that drawings of the group’s members by artist Jason Koza had been used in the album’s artwork. This was not cool, the artist himself subsequently declared, because he had only licensed the drawings for use on the WuDisciples website.

Koza promptly sued Shkreli, Wu-Tang’s RZA, producer Tarik ‘Cilvaringz’ Azzougarh, and the auction site that had sold the record, Paddle8, for the unauthorised use of his work. Shkreli was named in the lawsuit because he had ‘displayed’ the artwork without permission, which seemed like a slightly ropey interpretation of US public display rights at the time. Shkreli legal team then went on to claim that the display was covered by fair use rules anyway.

Shkreli’s lawyer John Wait yesterday confirmed to Billboard that his client’s name had now been dropped from the legal action, saying: “Mr Koza agreed to drop his case against Mr Shkreli on the morning that his opposition to Mr Shkreli’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim was due to be filed in federal court. Mr Shkreli did not agree to any conditions or pay any form of settlement in exchange for being dismissed from the case. In our view it is likely that Mr Koza recognised that he would be unable to maintain an infringement claim against Mr Shkreli in light of the fair use doctrine”.

But Koza’s lawyer Peter Scoolidge then said that the fair use claim was not the reason for dropping Shkreli from his client’s litigation, and suggested that he might be added back in at a later date, adding: “We stipulated to drop the case against Mr Shkreli for the time being because he is apparently indemnified by other parties in the case”.