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Michael KeckMichael Keck ()

SAN FRANCISCO — Alibaba.com Inc. has been hit with a class action lawsuit claiming that its network of e-commerce websites is home to rampant copyright infringement of visual artwork.

The lawsuit brought on behalf of professional Indiana artist Michel Keck seeks to certify a class of copyright holders who have seen their work copied and sold on Alibaba’s network of websites. The 81-page complaint, filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, spins a Kafkaesque tale about Keck’s attempts to get dozens of China-based sellers to stop selling knock-offs and copies of her work—primarily modern abstract canvas prints that feature dog portraits and religious themes.

Keck claims she first became aware that sellers in China were offering unauthorized copies of her work on Alibaba sites at “significantly lower” prices than she was charging after receiving a tip in late 2015 from an art dealer who had stopped buying paintings from her.  Keck claims that she repeatedly filled out online forms to report the alleged infringement to Alibaba, only to run into error messages, requests for documentation, or messages in Chinese. Often, she claims, she simply received no response.

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