RZA & Martin Shkreli Sued For Copyright Infringement Over Artwork In Wu Tang Clan's $2 Million Album

(Reuters) Martin Shkreli faces a new legal headache, a lawsuit claiming that his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album contains illustrations ripped off from a New York artist, who now wants the former drug executive to pay for them.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, Jason Koza said he never allowed his fan art depicting Wu-Tang members to be used in packaging for the hip-hop group's "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," the sole copy of which Shkreli bought.

The one and only copy of Wu-Tang Clan's album "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" includes a leather-bound lyric book, featuring stolen sketches by Jason Koza, the suit says.

Shkreli has bragged that he had no plans to listen to the album, but bought it to "keep it from the people."

The 32-year-old is also known for sparking outrage last year among patients, doctors and politicians after his former company Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of the anti-parisitic infection drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent.

Martin Shkreli

Koza, 34, of Copiague, New York, said he thought his nine works would appear only on the website WuDisciples.blogspot.com.

But the Fashion Institute of Technology graduate now blames Wu-Tang leader Robert "RZA" Diggs for including them in the "Shaolin" album, and Shkreli for allowing three works depicting Inspectah Deck, Ol' Dirty B@stard and Raekwon to accompany a Jan. 29 article at Vice.com.


"Mr. Koza was happy when his work appeared on the website," the complaint said. "Mr. Koza never granted a license for his works to be copied or displayed anywhere (else)."

Inspectah Deck #wutang #wutangclan #inspectahdeck #rebelins #Shaoli...

A photo posted by Jason Koza (@kozagoatworks) on Mar 17, 2014 at 5:07am PDT

Ol' Dirty B****** "Brooklyn Zoo" #WuTangClan #oldirtybastard #odb #...

A photo posted by Jason Koza (@kozagoatworks) on Feb 3, 2014 at 3:57am PST

Other defendants include Paddle8, which auctioned the album, and Wu Tang-affiliated producer Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzougarh.


Koza said Cilvaringz has acknowledged the infringement, asking in a Jan. 31 email "if you want to skype discussing the use of your drawings. Thanks bro."

Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Shkreli, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Wu-Tang did not immediately respond to a similar request. A Paddle8 spokeswoman declined to comment.

Last Thursday, Shkreli invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination at a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on drug pricing, and later tweeted that lawmakers in Congress were imbeciles. (Full Story) He also faces separate federal securities fraud charges.

Koza is seeking unspecified damages plus profits stemming from copyright infringement.

His lawyer Peter Scoolidge said in a phone interview that Shkreli "didn't need to know" the illustrations were protected to be liable. "There is no intent requirement for copyright infringement," he said.

The case is Koza v Diggs et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-00956.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Alan Crosby)

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Comment by obie-z on February 10, 2016 at 10:32pm
How is this Shkreli's problem exactly !?
Comment by SMP on February 10, 2016 at 5:41pm
can't wait until that fa-ggot a-ss wi-gga skreli gets popped lmao
Comment by Xcel on February 10, 2016 at 10:56am
Legal headache my a**
The guy sat in front of the congress
Like he cares about tgat s***
Comment by King Foley on February 10, 2016 at 9:06am
f*** that shkreli shithead
Comment by Thomas Mason on February 10, 2016 at 8:31am
Sounds like RZAs problem to me. Shkreli just bought it. RZA putt it up for sale. another fail!
Comment by Pandaemonium on February 9, 2016 at 9:27pm
this 2 million dollar album has turned out to be a greedy and s***** idea. I love Wu but what was Rza thinking?? Also f*** Martin!!
Comment by F***THEWORLD on February 9, 2016 at 9:02pm
I'm glad, this KARMA for RZA for not sharing a single dollar with the rest of the WU! Greedy b****. I lost all respect for him.
Comment by matt on February 9, 2016 at 8:40pm
Agree but I don't think the artwork was used as a selling point. Nobody knew they were there until s*** head opened it
Comment by Shawn Corey Carter on February 9, 2016 at 8:28pm
@matt When your imagery is published on the interwebs it is almost impossible to draw any sort of revenue. However, being that the album was auctioned off for 2mils it therefore has the possibility and was sold for an astonishing fortune so he is rightly entitled to a piece of that when it was his artwork being plagiarised. The main point is his work was used to sell the product and whether big or small as part of the project he should be credited.
Comment by MASTER on February 9, 2016 at 7:53pm
Wu album in 2016 would've sold 15K first week if it dropped...

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