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A foundation overseeing Andy Warhol’s estate accused an online art gallery Wednesday of selling unauthorized reproductions of his paintings, saying the practice deprives the group of money that could be used to support thousands of artists. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago seeking a court order enjoining Chicago-based Arts-Studio.com from selling reproductions of approximately 40 works without permission. The lawsuit, which claims the reproductions violate federal copyright laws, seeks monetary damages equal to the amount of money the gallery made from the sale of the paintings, said Jeff Cooper, an attorney for the foundation. On its Web site, Arts-Studio.com offers hand-painted reproductions of Warhol works, ranging in price from $209 to $329. They are among copies of more than 2,000 works by more than 60 well-known artists advertised by the service, which also offers to copy any oil painting desired by a customer. “There is nothing ambiguous about what Arts-Studio is doing,” said Paul Hanly, another attorney for the foundation. “It is a clear and blatant violation of copyright law. When you use something for your own financial gain that someone else created, that is stealing.” Arts-Studio did not immediately respond Wednesday to telephone and e-mail messages from The Associated Press. The Andy Warhol Foundation was established according to his will after his death in 1987. It controls the sale of much of his original artwork and handles the licensing of his work, trademarks and rights to publicity that appear on posters, apparel and other items. The foundation uses the revenue it receives to make charitable grants that advance the visual arts, said foundation president Joel Wachs. “Mr. Warhol’s only wish for his legacy was that proceeds from the sale or licensing of his work would go toward supporting the advancement of the visual arts in our society and culture,” Wachs said in a statement. “Arts-Studio’s unauthorized use adversely affects Warhol’s legacy and is depriving the foundation of potentially large sums of money that would support thousands of artists who are carrying out Mr. Warhol’s vision.” Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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