Less than a week after his oddly silent Congressional testimony, former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli was named as a defendant in a case tied to his $2 million purchase of a Wu-Tang Clan album.
A self-described “great artist” named Jason Koza filed the copyright lawsuit claiming his portraits of Wu-Tang Clan members were illicitly used in a book for an album called “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”
Aside from Shkreli, defendants in the suit include Robert Diggs (otherwise known as the RZA, a member of the Wu-Tang Clan); Tarik Azzougarh (also known as Cilvaringz, a producer tied to the group); and Paddle 8 (an auction house that handled the sale of the Wu-Tang album to Shkreli).
The suit alleges that a 174-page book that was sold with the album contains artwork by Koza, “one of the most talented portrait artists of the Second Millennium.” The issue, according to the suit, is that Koza never granted a licence for his works to be displayed.
Koza, a Wu-Tang Clan fan, says he he created portraits of the Wu-Tang Clan and uploaded them to Wudisciples.blogspot.com. The portraits were taken from the website, and Koza never received any sort of payment, the suit alleges.
Shkreli was named as a defendant because he “publicly displayed the portraits through a reporter and he is in possession of the infringing copies,”
Peter Scoolidge, the lawyer filing the case, told Business Insider via email.
Scoolidge is referring to an article published by Vice on January 28 that included photographs of Koza’s portraits in the book.
Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, as well as Paddle 8, the auction house, declined to comment on the case.
Business Insider has also reached out to a representative for the Wu-Tang Clan for comment and will update when we hear back.
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