Jun 23, 2021 • 10M

🗞️ Jay-Z and the first major NFT lawsuit

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Episode details

This week: There’s an NFT lawsuit in the music industry, and SCOTUS makes a huge NCAA decision. Plus: why Big Law can’t keep lawyers even with inflated salaries.

🎤 The biggest NFT lawsuit yet

It’s a hard knock lawsuit for a former record exec who created an NFT of Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt

  • This story goes way back before NFTs existed: In the mid-90s, Jay-Z and a man named Damon Dash co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records. They made millions off albums and tours but ended their business relationship around 2005. 

  • But Dash has stayed involved in music and business: He’s still a minority owner in Roc-A-Fella. And his latest move was making an NFT of Reasonable Doubt.

  • So Roc sued: The label has accused Dash of claiming he would transfer all profits Dash continues to make from the album to whoever bought the NFT at auction. This is a problem, according to the lawsuit, because Dash doesn’t have any rights to sell Roc-A-Fella assets.

Dash says this is a big misunderstanding

He told TMZ he plans to offer his share in Roc-A-Fella, not in any album profits, to whoever buys the NFT. He believes Roc-A-Fella is just trying to push him out. 

The Verdict

A federal court sided with Roc-A-Fella for now and said Dash cannot sell the NFT. 

🪁 Why Big Law’s top talents are leaving for tech

Big Law’s salaries are going up, but America’s most prestigious firms are still losing key employees to Silicon Valley. 

  • A new study reveals the scope: According to Reuters, more than 270 associates have left the top 10 firms in New York so far in 2021. Of course, these firms are still finding plenty of replacements, with one of them already hiring 105 lateral associates this year after only hiring 107 all of last year.  

  • Reuters found a number of reasons why: Chief among them are work-life balance, the desire to live in a more affordable city and the lure of tech. 

Why tech has been an attraction

Many of the lawyers are still working for firms, but they’ve gone to places that do more work with tech companies. The draw of tech is twofold: Tech companies fared the best in the down economy of 2020, and young lawyers grew up in a tech-dominated world. 

The Verdict

Departures from Big Law happen all the time, but the rate could stay high, especially as firms ask lawyers to return to the office.  

⛹️‍♀️ SCOTUS hands the NCAA its biggest L yet 

The game isn’t over for the NCAA, but a SCOTUS ruling may drastically alter the landscape of college sports. 

  • SCOTUS handed down a landmark 9-0 decision Monday: The justices ruled the NCAA’s longtime justification for amateurism -- as something necessary to distinguish its product -- was no longer sufficient. Amateurism has been a key part of the NCAA for more than 100 years, and the NCAA has enjoyed what was basically a de facto ability to cap wages in a way that would normally be an antitrust violation.

  • Athletes might cash in right away, to an extent: Former athletic director and lawyer Oliver Luck said the ruling gives schools the opportunity to use new enticements to recruit athletes, so long as the enticements are tied to education (for instance, a promise to pay for grad school).  

Narrow but potentially transformative

According to legal experts, the actual decision will lead to few immediate changes for the NCAA, but major changes could be on the horizon. 

The Verdict

Get used to seeing the NCAA and the legal world in headlines. Name, image and likeness laws are also going into effect this summer.

💌 What else we’re forwarding

Google has a new challenge over its ad market control in Europe: And you thought the week would go by without a new antitrust action against a tech company.

SCOTUS keeps the Affordable Care Act intact with a new decision: This was another huge ruling, as the Supreme Court again decided not to gut Obama’s signature act.

🎧 Music we’re working to

Today we’re listening to something more upbeat, Ebo Taylor. The Ghanian artist and composer created a fusion of soul and funk. Life Stories is a wonderful and definitive compilation of his seminal 70’s recordings, consisting of extended instrumental jams punctuated by vocal hooks. 

Life Stories - Ebo Taylor (100m, some vocals)
Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Amazon Music 

💬 What we’re discussing

​Join us this Thursday (June 24) for the first of our 'Ask the Expert' series! Hank Greenberg, GC at Oscar Health will share his thoughts on what you need to know as a first-time GC. It's an open discussion and attendees are more than welcome to participate in the conversation!

​See you there!

Join the conversation!

See ya tomorrow,

🧐 Raad