Martin Shkreli Argues ‘Fair Use’ In Wu-Tang Clan Lawsuit

Martin Shkreli’s Attorney Argues Fair Use in Wu-Tang Clan Lawsuit

In earlier reports, DMN detailed an ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a New York artist named Koza against Martin Shkreli related to his purchase of the Wu-Tang Clan album.

In short, Koza authorized his Wu-Tang artwork for use on the group’s website, but did not grant further exploitation.  Regardless, Koza’s drawings were used in a 174-page book which was sold alongside the album to Shkreli for a reported $2 million.  Last month, Koza filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court.

Now, Shkreli’s attorney John Wait is fighting this legal action.  Wait detailed the defense in an email to Billboard.

”As you may have seen, plaintiff fundamentally changed his claim against Mr. Shkreli when he filed his amended complaint.  Specifically in the original complaint plaintiff alleged: ‘Mr. Shkreli has infringed Mr. Koza’s exclusive right of public display by permitting at least three of the nine Wu-Tang Clan Portraits to be displayed to the public in a news article without Mr. Koza’s permission or license.”

Shkreli played the album for a Vice reporter named Allie Conte back in January, which is now the subject of the complaint.

Wait claims that this conduct is covered under ‘fair use,’ a somewhat gray qualification that covers criticism, commentary, satire, and other uses.  Though Koza disagrees, he believes that regardless of the fact that his work hasn’t been displayed publicly, it is still copyright infringement and all parties involved should be subject to legal proceedings.

Wait filed a motion to the court to remove Shkreli’s name from the lawsuit.  A response from Koza’s team is due April 15th.


(Image by Beth Cortez-Neavel, Creative Commons, Public Domain)

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