Martin Shkreli hit with a restraining order in Wu-Tang Clan album suit

Just hours after the “Pharma Pro” conviction, Martin Shkreli He was sued over allegations that he illegally copied and distributed a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album Once upon a time in ShaolinA federal judge ordered him to stand trial and immediately stop “causing further harm.”

In a ruling issued Tuesday evening. Judge Pamela Chen He issued a temporary restraining order against the disgraced pharmaceutical executive, endorsing the arguments of PleasrDAO — a digital arts collective that purchased the album in 2021 after Shkreli was forced to seize it as part of his criminal case.

“The plaintiff will suffer immediate and irreparable injury, namely the erosion of the album’s uniqueness as an original work of art,” the judge wrote. She also ordered Shkreli to appear in court later this month and said she may force him to hand over digital records and account for any illicit profits.

Judge Chen explicitly threatened Shkreli with criminal penalties if he violated her order: “The defendant is warned that any act by him that violates any of the terms of this order, after actual notice of this order to the defendant, may be deemed and prosecuted as a crime.” “Contempt of this court.”

The quick restraining order came less than a day after PleasrDAO filed a lawsuit against Shkreli over the album leak, accusing him of violating the purchase agreement and a federal forfeiture order requiring him to turn it over. They also accused him of violating federal trade secrets law, which protects valuable proprietary information from misappropriation.

“The album was intended to constitute the only existing copy of the recording, music, data, files and packaging,” the group’s lawyers wrote earlier Tuesday. “It now appears that Shkreli improperly maintained copies of data and files at the time of the seizure and released and/or intended to release them to the public.”

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In a post to In subsequent posts, he called the lawsuit “frivolous” and also reshared X’s post in which another user suggested the lawsuit would fail: “Even if they win, wouldn’t Shkreli anonymously leak the album online out of spite?”

Shkreli did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

Legendary Wu-Tang Once upon a time in Shaolin It was secretly recorded and released only once, on CD secured in a nickel-silver embossed box. Although the group aimed for exotic motifs as a protest against the commodification of music, Shaolin It later became the final commodity. In 2015, Shkreli — already famous as the man who deliberately raised the prices of important AIDS drugs — bought it at auction for $2 million.

The deal came with an unusual condition: that the album could not be copied or released to the general public in any way until 2103, or 88 years after the initial purchase. According to court documents, the deal allowed the album to be played at private listening events in “spaces not normally used as large concert venues.”

In 2017, Shkreli was convicted of two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy. After sentencing him to seven years in prison and requiring him to pay $7.4 million, the federal judge supervising the case ordered him to extradite him. Shaolin To help pay compensation.

PleasrDAO says it purchased the album from federal prosecutors in 2021 for $4 million, and in 2024 acquired the copyright and other rights to the album for $750,000. Last month, the band said they would hold private listening events at an Australian museum, where fans will be able to “experience” some songs from the album.

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But in the lawsuit filed Tuesday, PleasrDAO said Shkreli illegally kept copies of Wu-Tang’s music and recently began threatening to release them to the public.

In April posts on X, he allegedly said “LOL I have mp3s you idiot” and “I can just upload mp3s if I want?” In May, he allegedly posted a photo of a PleasrDAO webpage in which the group said the album wouldn’t be available until 2103 and said “Find a torrent, I’m tired of this crap” — a reference to the online file sharing method. On Sunday (June 9), the group said it “publicly played music from the album” online for nearly 5,000 listeners.

In their filings, the group claimed that releasing the album would cause “incalculable financial loss,” since the value of the album was based on the “uniqueness” of the single copy: the potential resale value of the album and the profits PleasrDAO might generate. Profits from playing or viewing music will diminish as data and files become more widely available.

In her restraining order later Tuesday, Judge Chen appeared to be swayed by these arguments. Saying that PleasrDAO was likely to “succeed on the merits” of its case against Shkreli, it ruled that he was immediately prohibited from “using, publishing, broadcasting or selling any interests in the album” or “in any way causing further harm to the plaintiff “. Respect the album.”

Judge Chen Shkreli also ordered him to appear in court on June 25 to explain why a stronger injunction should not be issued. The judge said such an order would require Shkreli to account for any copies he kept, who distributed them, what profits he earned from doing so, and would allow the confiscation of any remaining copies of the album he might have. Still detained.

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