PleasrDAO sues Martin Shkreli over Wu-Tang Clan album

PleasrDAO, the digital art collective that owns the unique Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, has filed a lawsuit against its previous owner, Martin Shkreli, per The suit, lodged on June 10 in a Brooklyn federal court, alleges that Shkreli copied and played the album for online audiences without authorization.

The lawsuit, reviewed by Pitchfork, outlines the album’s controversial history. Shkreli, the disgraced former pharmaceutical executive, purchased the album in 2015 for $2 million. Later that year, he was arrested and convicted in 2017 for securities fraud, leading to a seven-year prison sentence and the forfeiture of nearly $7.4 million in assets, including the Wu-Tang album. PleasrDAO acquired the album for $4 million while Shkreli was incarcerated.

The collective claims Shkreli violated a forfeiture order requiring him to preserve and maintain the album’s value. Shkreli allegedly admitted to copying and playing the album publicly, including a recent incident where he posted on X (formerly Twitter), “well @pleasrdao blocked me from their account so i think i will play the album on spaces now.”

PleasrDAO contends that public dissemination of the album’s music diminishes its value and damages their reputation and commercial prospects. They seek an inventory of Shkreli’s files, the seizure of his copies, damages, and other remedies.

Shkreli has responded mockingly to the lawsuit on social media, defending his actions. 

Starting Saturday, the album will be played at Australia’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) under a contract prohibiting commercial exploitation until 2109 but allowing private listening events.


Featured image: Martin Shkreli, October 2023/Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images


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