On June 14, 2018, a California federal judge denied a motion to dismiss a class action brought by Indiana artists alleging that a company called Alibaba Group Holdings allowed copyright infringers to illegally reproduce the artwork of the Indiana artists on Alibaba’s website. The judge called the motion to dismiss a “waste of paper.”

In the complaint filed by artist Michel Keck, she claims that numerous merchants have been displaying and selling copies of her artwork without permission and without paying her. Keck alleges that “Alibaba failed to expeditiously remove infringing material from its sites after receiving takedown requests from Keck and has allowed merchants who repeatedly infringe her intellectual property rights to continue doing business on the Alibaba platforms.”

Her proposed class consists of owners of U.S. copyrights to “pictorial, graphic, or visual works” that have been reproduced or displayed on, AliExpress or Taobao and offered for sale without the permission of the owner.

The case is Keck v. Inc., case number 5:17-cv-05672, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

* Copyright infringement by large corporations at the expense of often indigent artists is a big problem addressed at Lowe & Associates. Founder & Managing Partner Steven T. Lowe is the current President of the California Society of Entertainment Lawyers, a not for profit artists’ rights organization, and is recognized as one of the best copyright attorneys, having written the highly regarded “Death of Copyright” series. The 3rd article of the trilogy, “Death of Copyright 3: The Awakening” is set to be published in the July edition of “Los Angeles Lawyer” magazine.

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