Wu-Tang Clan, the rap / hip hop group from New York City have come up with an interesting and novel idea for the sale of their latest album, by announcing that they will sell it to the highest bidder. As if that was not enough, they are also imposing an 88-year ban which prevents the buyer from publicly sharing the work after purchase. The new album, entitled The Wu: Once Upon A Time, can be bid for by accessing a special micro-site that the group have set up, which allows potential buyers to register their details.

In explaining the marketing 'gimmick', the 39-year-old Dutch producer Cilvaringz said: "After 88 years the copyright automatically transfers to the owner of the work.

However, it will still be his or her choice at that (point) to release it or not release it."

With such a long time span involved, the group clearly expect their musical influence to extend well into the future and that the generations to come will still have an interest in the group and their sound. It also implies some form of handing down of the album to family members or at the very least some form of arrangement being drawn up as to what should happen about the album when the purchaser dies.

RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan added his thoughts on the subject: "When you buy a painting or a sculpture, you're buying that piece rather than the right to replicate it. Owning a Picasso doesn't mean you can sell prints or reproductions."

The American group were formed in 1992 and not only is their Music distinctive, but the group members commonly have intriguing names such as GZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, U-God and Masta Killa.

One of their original and most popular group members, Ol' Dirty Bastard (who had guest spots with Mariah Carey) is now deceased, collapsing in the recording studio in 2004 and being diagnosed at his autopsy as dying from an accidental drug overdose. Their music is extremely popular with their fans and the critics, with NME hailing them as one of the most influential groups of the last ten years, back in 2004.

The group's name was adopted with reference to the film Shaolin and Wu Tang, with their first album being loosely divided into separate Shaolin and Wu-Tang sections.

They are no strangers to syndication, having featured in the game Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style that was released for the PlayStation in 1999 and also having several links to clothing lines such as Wu Wear.