Martin Shkreli Accused of Copying $4.75 Million One-Of-A-Kind Wu-Tang Album in New Lawsuit

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
June 12, 2024US News
Martin Shkreli Accused of Copying $4.75 Million One-Of-A-Kind Wu-Tang Album in New Lawsuit
Martin Shkreli, former chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, departs after a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York on June 26, 2017. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

American investor Martin Shkreli is facing a new lawsuit, which alleges that he retained and shared recordings from an album that he was forced to sell in 2017 after being convicted of securities fraud.

The lawsuit specifically relates to unreleased recordings from a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album, which the hip-hop group auctioned off in 2015. It was subsequently bought by Mr. Shkreli and sold to cryptocurrency collective, PleasrDAO, for $4.75 million.

PleasrDAO initiated the lawsuit on June 10, alleging that Mr. Shkreli retained digital copies of the album in violation of their deal and disseminated them widely among his social media followers.

Since being auctioned off, the album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” has functioned as a rare contemporary art piece.

The lawsuit specifically points to recent comments by Mr. Shkreli on social media, where he allegedly boasted of sharing the digital recordings with “thousands of people.”

Over the weekend preceding the filing, Mr. Shkreli allegedly hosted a livestream on social media platform X, where he played segments of the album in question during what he referred to as a “Wu tang official listening party,” the lawsuit states.

The rare album was initially created in protest of music’s devaluation in the streaming era. Mr. Shkreli purchased it during an auction along with a 174-page book wrapped in leather. The album was packaged in a hand-crafted silver and nickel case.

After his conviction in 2017 on security fraud charges, Mr. Shkreli was forced to sell the physical copy of the album, along with the book, case, and digital rights, which, according to PleasrDAO, they purchased in two transactions, in 2021 and 2024.

PleasrDAO said that, to their knowledge, Mr. Shkreli had destroyed all traces of the album’s files.

“Any dissemination of the Album’s music to the general public greatly diminishes and/or destroys the Album’s value, and significantly damages PleasrDAO’s reputation and ability to commercially exploit the Album,” the lawsuit states.

A controversial figure, Mr. Shkreli is known for substantially increasing the price of a life-saving drug for a rare disease from $13.50 to $750 per pill in 2015, which led to him colloquially being known as “Pharma Bro.”

In January this year, a federal court found that Mr Shkreli “violated both federal and state laws by engaging in an illegal scheme to maintain a monopoly over a lifesaving drug, Daraprim, after increasing its price by over 4,000 percent.”

Consequently, he was banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered to pay nearly $65 million.

As of last month, the album was headed to Australia’s Museum of Old and New Art. There, it was set to be part of a hosting of private listening sessions featuring select tracks from the album beginning this week.

NTD contacted Martin Shkreli for comment but did not receive a response by press time.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.