Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Ends Lawsuit Over ‘Reasonable Doubt’ NFT After Damon Dash Folds
Under the deal, the Roc-A-Fella co-founder conceded he had no right to sell part of Jay-Z's iconic debut album.
Jay-Z‘s Roc-A-Fella Records has reached a settlement with label co-founder Damon Dash to end a lawsuit over his aborted plan to auction off a stake in the album Reasonable Doubt as a non-fungible token (NFT).
In court papers filed Monday (June 13), attorneys for both Roc-A-Fella and Dash told a federal judge they had reached a deal in which Dash agreed that he had no right to sell any part of Jay-Z’s iconic debut record — as a non-fungible token or otherwise.
“RAF, Inc. owns all rights to the album ‘Reasonable Doubt,’ including its copyright,” the agreement reads. “No shareholder or member of RAF, Inc. holds a direct ownership interest in ‘Reasonable Doubt’.”
Under the terms of the deal, Dash can still sell his one-third stake in Roc-A-Fella at some point in the future, but he cannot “in any way dispose of any property interest in ‘Reasonable Doubt’.”
For Roc-A-Fella, the deal was inked by Jay-Z’s longtime attorney Alex Spiro and other attorneys at the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. For Dash, the settlement was signed by Natraj S. Bhushan and Eric Howard at the firm Turturro Law.
The settlement came just under a year after Roc-A-Fella first sued Dash after news broke that the erstwhile collaborator was planning off to auction off a portion of his purported rights to Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z’s 1996 debut album, in the form of an NFT.
Repped by Spiro, Roc-A-Fella argued that the rights to the album were owned by the company, not the individual partners themselves, and that Dash’s one-third ownership in the label didn’t give him a right to sell off its “most prized asset.”
“The sale of this irreplaceable asset must be stopped before it is too late, and Dash must be held accountable for his theft,” the June 2021 lawsuit read. “The bottom line is simple: Dash can’t sell what he doesn’t own.”
A judge quickly issued a restraining order barring any form of sale from going forward while the case plays out. Dash has since said he was only trying to sell his stake in Roc-A-Fella, not the actual rights to the album.
Little has happened in the case since. The case has been fully paused since the March for settlement talks, but last month Roc-A-Fella threatened to resume litigating the case against Dash if he did not quickly agree to a deal.