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Reasonable Accord: Jay-Z and Dame Dash Settle ‘Reasonable Doubt’ NFT Lawsuit

Jay-Z and Damon Dash have settled the latest bout in their longstanding feud, this one over Dash’s alleged attempt to mint and sell part of the copyright to Jay’s Reasonable Doubt as a non-fungible token.

In court papers filed Monday, June 13, lawyers for the two parties announced an agreement that stipulated Dash could sell his one-third stake in Roc-A-Fella Records, but he could not “in any way dispose of any property interest in Reasonable Doubt.” The agreement also officially dismisses the claims RAF brought against Dash without prejudice. 

Along with setting out the aforementioned guidelines over what Dash can and can’t sell, the agreement laid out some additional stipulations. It asserts that RAF “owns all the rights” to Reasonable Doubt, including its copyright, and adds: “No shareholder or member of RAF, Inc. holds a direct ownership interest in Reasonable Doubt.” 

Natraj Bhushan, a lawyer for Dash, tells Rolling Stone, “As reflected in today’s Joint Stipulation, this meritless lawsuit ended much as it began with each party in the same position as they were in prior to the commencement of this litigation.”

A lawyer for Roc-A-Fella Records was not immediately available to provide comment.

The new agreement comes almost exactly one year after Roc-A-Fella sued Dash (one of the label’s co-founders) for allegedly trying to mint and sell the copyright for Reasonable Doubt as an NFT via an auction on the site SuperFarm. The original complaint quoted the auction announcement, in which SuperFarm stated it was “proud to announce . . . the auction of Damon’s ownership of the copyright to Jay-Z’s first album Reasonable Doubt,” and heralding the sale as a “milestone” for NFTs “entitling the new owner to future revenue generated by the unique asset.”

Dash, however, disputed the claim in an interview with Rolling Stone, insisting he wasn’t trying to sell an NFT of Reasonable Doubt, but rather his stake in Roc-A-Fella Records after the label supposedly tried to purchase it at a low price. “When another Black man calls another Black man a thief, just to make him look bad, and so that they can devalue an asset that that other man owns, just because he won’t sell it to him at a low price — I don’t think the culture needs that,” Dash said at the time.

After the lawsuit was filed, a judge issued a restraining order prohibiting any kind of sale while the case moved forward. The case paused in March as the parties entered plea negotiations, though as of a month ago it looked like the case could heat up again, with RAF threatening to restart litigation as it claimed that settlement talks had “reached an impasse.” 

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