In a moral victory for the good of humanity, and a significant loss for notorious asshat Martin Shkreli, the US government has auctioned off the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s 2015 album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin that had formerly belonged to the disgraced former pharmaceutical executive.
I love everything about this story. I love that the official source of the sale is from real-life United States Department of Justice. I love that Shkreli, who was convicted of securities fraud in 2018 and ordered to pay $7.4 million in monetary judgment, had to forfeit the album that he paid $2 million for. I love that Shkreli tried to sell the album on eBay before the authorities got to him but failed. I love that Cher is probably on this album.
There are only two things that I don’t love about this story:
- With the sale of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, Shkreli has now fulfilled his monetary judgment in full. Boo! Boo, I say! Make him keep paying, I say! That’s what you get for jacking up prices for life-saving medication by over 5,000 per cent.
- Per the official statement from the Department of Justice: “The contract of sale contains a confidentiality provision that protects information relating to the buyer and price.” Whomever this person, nay this hero, happens to be, they should reveal themselves and bask in the adulation they deserve.
The sale also raises another question about the album’s most famous clause: that upon purchase, the album cannot be commercially exploited until the year 2103. The album can be released for free or played at listening parties at the owner’s discretion, but no copies can be sold by the owner for another 82 years.
But does that apply to the original buyer. Surely RZA didn’t think that the album would be seized by the US government and resold, so does that nullify the initial sale’s agreement? Does somebody with any business law experience have any insight into this? I need answers, and I need them now, because Once Upon A Time In Shaolin deserves to be heard by all. After all, Wu Tang is for the children.
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