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Jay-Z and Damon Dash at ‘Impasse’ In Settlement Talks, So Lawsuit Will Resume

There's no quick end to a lawsuit that claims Dash illegally tried to auction off part ownership of 'Reasonable Doubt' as an NFT.

Attorneys for Jay-Z‘s Roc-A-Fella Records say they’ve “reached an impasse” in talks to settle their lawsuit against Damon Dash and now plan to seek a full legal victory in the case.

Roc-A-Fella sued Dash last year over his plan to auction off his stake in the album Reasonable Doubt as an NFT, and quickly won a court order barring him from doing so. Then in March, the two sides said they were in talks to end the case.

But two months later, Jay-Z’s attorney Alex Spiro told a federal judge on Monday that those talks had broken down and that he intends to file a motion seeking summary judgment and a permanent injunction – a ruling by the court that Dash has no legal right to sell the iconic album in any form. The attorney claimed that Dash had admitted during litigation that he lacks any right to do so.

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An attorney for Dash did not immediately return a request for comment.

Roc-A-Fella Records sued Dash, the label’s co-founder, last summer after news broke that Dash was planning off to auction off a portion of Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z’s 1996 debut album, in the form of an NFT, or non-fungible token.

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” — as an NFT or otherwise.

“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 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, and the case has been fully paused since the March notice of settlement talks.

A more expansive brief from Roc-A-Fella, arguing why it should be granted judgment in the case, will be filed in June.