UPDATE: RZA has tweeted at Method Man to explain that an “88 year ‘non-commercialization’ clause means corporations can’t buy it and mass-produce it for [sale].” He also asked fans to calm down.
Method Man is not amused with producer Cilvaringz’s claim that the copyright for Wu-Tang Clan’s single-copy album, The Wu: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, would prevent its buyer from sharing and profiting on its content for 88 years.
“I’m tired of this shit and I know everybody else is tired of it, too,” the Wu rapper, who was unaware of the legal stipulation, recently told XXL. “Fuck that album, if that’s what they are doing…Give it to the people, if they want to hear the shit, let them have it. Give it away free. I don’t give a fuck; that ain’t making nobody rich or poor. Give the fucking music out. Stop playing with the public, man.”
Other than the record’s legal limitations, Method Man said he was fully on board with the release. “I’m like, ‘Wow, this has never been done before,'” said the rapper, who is working on his own Methlab solo album. “I was cool with shit. But now, this is ridiculous. Eighty-eight years, really? If that shit is true, that shit is stupid.”
Cilvaringz made the claim in an interview with Forbes in which he claimed, “After 88 years, the copyright, which includes public and commercial rights, automatically transfers to the owner of the work.” Once the copyright period is up, it will then be up to the LP’s owner whether or not to share the music.
The album could come out before 2103, though, if the buyer were to post it online for free. RZA told Forbes that he didn’t think that was likely considering the amount of money someone would be putting up to own it.
The 31-track, six-years-in-the-making record, which RZA first mentioned last April, features appearances by all nine members of the rap crew (and Cher!). At the time, the rapper claimed to have received offers as high as $5 million for the release, which comes in a special hand-carved box. Despite those flat offers, the band is selling the release via the online auction house Paddle8. Earlier this week, RZA offered “the first, the last, the only public listening session” for the release in New York City. Since Paddle8 is offering the album as a private sale and not an auction it is currently in the ongoing process of vetting prospective buyers.