Approximately 100,000 high resolution images of paintings and calligraphy from the National Palace Museum in Taipei have been leaked, according to a report from CNN. The images have been spotted for sale on the Chinese shopping platform Taobao for less than one dollar.
High resolution scans can be used to make digital copies of original artworks. Digital reproductions are commonly sold by museums, galleries, and artists alike at a lower price than the original in order to make a profit.
The Taiwanese museum reportedly contacted Taobao in an effort to stop any further spread of the images on Tuesday.
“We are looking into it and have hired lawyers to raise to Taobao about the intellectual properties and damages involved,” deputy museum director Huang Yung-tai told CNN.
Depending on the resolution, each scan could sell between $98 and $850, according to the institution’s website.
In a statement, the museum claims it first identified the leak last June and launched an investigation two months later. A staff member who had been downsizing files of the scans transferred some of the works to a private server, which was then hacked, the investigation found. That employee has since received a warning.
This marks the latest scandal for the museum, which saw $77 million Chinese artifacts broken in three separate incidents last year.
Though it’s based in Taiwan, the National Palace Museum holds the world’s largest collection of Chinese artifacts — an ongoing point of contention between the two countries. After nationalists fled to Taiwan during the Chinese civil war, many of these objects were transported by the former President of China, Chiang Kai-shek, from mainland China.