Martin Shkreli Allegedly Copied & Shared Wu-Tang Clan's Rare Album

By Tony M. Centeno

June 12, 2024

Martin Shkreli & 'Once Upon a Time In Shaolin'
Photo: Getty Images/PleasrDAO

"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli just got slapped with a hefty lawsuit after he allegedly produced copies of Wu-Tang Clan's one-of-a-kind album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and shared it online.

PleasrDAO is suing the disgraced investor for violating the terms of the forfeiture agreement he made with the Department of Justice in 2021. The digital art collective paid $4.75 million for the sole copy of the group's 2015 album after Shkreli forfeited the asset to satisfy the $7.4 million forfeiture money judgment he agreed to at his sentencing hearing in 2018. According to Reuters, PleasrDAO alleges made copies of the album and played it for his social media followers on several occasions.

“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, per AP.

Shkreli originally bought the album as a contemporary art piece during an auction in 2015 for $2 million. In 2017, the former owner of MSMB Capital Management LP and MSMB Healthcare Management LP was convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud hedge fund investors. PleasrDAO made two payments between 2021 and 2024 for the LP in a hand-crafted silver and nickel case, a 174-page book wrapped in leather and the digital rights.

After he gave up the album, Shkreli was released from prison after he served six of his seven-year sentence. Shortly after he was freed in 2022, Shkreli claimed he had a copy of the album and allegedly acknowledged PleasrDAO's acquisition. Over the weekend, he hosted a Spaces livestream on his X account and called it "Wu tang official listening party."

PleasrDAO demands Shkreli to destroy all of his copies of the album. They want him to cough up an undisclosed amount in damages along with the profits generated from sharing the group's unreleased music. He's also barred from distributing the album in any way thanks to a temporary restraining order U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen issued on Tuesday night.  

Invited guests recently got to hear the album the right way during a private listening session at The Angel Orensanz Foundation building in New York City. It's the location where the Staten Island-based group shot the album cover for Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). They got to experience portions of the album before it travels down under for its formal debut at the Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) in Tasmania.

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