Another day, another headline about the Wu-Tang Clan and Martin Shkreli. This time, instead of an update on their ongoing war of egos, here’s news about a battle that puts them on the same side. The New York Daily News reports that Long Island illustrator Jason Koza has filed a federal lawsuit against Wu-Tang and Shkreli.
Koza claims that Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang album Shkreli purchased for $2 million last year, includes his artwork without authorization. Two years ago, Koza posted drawings of all nine Wu-Tang members on his Instagram account and allowed the Wu Tang Clan Discples fan blog to publish them. These sketches allegedly appear in the album’s leather-bound lyric book without permission, which Koza discovered thanks to a Vice report on the album. According to court records, Koza did not file for copyright on his drawings until last month. He’s seeking unspecified damages, and if he wins, the leather-bound book could be impounded or destroyed.
The suit names Shkreli, RZA, the auction site Paddle8, and Wu-Tang associate Cilvaringz, who played a significant role in assembling the album. Court records show that Cilvaringz emailed Koza in April 2014 with an inquiry about “the one copy album RZA and I are doing.” Although Koza agreeed to talk, he never heard back from Cilvaringz until 1/31/16, a few days after Koza first accused Wu-Tang of infringement, when he told Koza, “I see we actually have been in touch before, but never completed. I thought we had. Let me know if you want to skype discussing the use of your drawings. Thanks bro.”