United States Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Blackbeard Copyright Case

Modern Day Piracy on the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Project
Blackbeard Supreme Court
Blackbeard Supreme Court
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - June 3, 2019 - PRLog -- In 2015, according to a complaint filed in federal court, North Carolina pirated footage of Blackbeard flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge. Then North Carolina passed "Blackbeard's Law" to justify that misuse. Rick Allen of Nautilus Productions is now taking his case to the Supreme Court of the United States. The issue is whether Congress validly abrogated state sovereign immunity via the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act in providing remedies for authors of original expression whose federal copyrights are infringed by states. North Carolina maintains that sovereign immunity prevents it from being held liable for damages, as other copyright infringers would be.

Nautilus owner, Rick Allen, stated, "We are obviously gratified that the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear our case. The Constitution of the United States of America expressly empowers Congress to grant copyright holders 'the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.' We look forward to making our case to the Supreme Court as to why it was within Congress's constitutional authority to hold states liable for their acts of copyright infringement."

Since 1998, Nautilus Productions has been the official video crew for the Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Project. Nautilus Productions has documented almost two decades of archaeological activities and the recovery of artifacts from Blackbeard's infamous shipwreck for the benefit of, and at zero cost to, the taxpayers of North Carolina.

The shipwreck was discovered in 1996 by Intersal Inc., which has filed a separate breach of contract lawsuit against North Carolina and the Friends of Queen Anne's Revenge. That case was heard last month by the North Carolina Supreme Court and awaits a ruling. The state of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) and the Friends of Queen Anne's Revenge non-profit, which dissolved their corporation after the lawsuit was filed, are also defendants in that lawsuit.

Nautilus Productions LLC & Rick Allen originally filed the lawsuit, Allen v. Cooper (https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket...), on December 1, 2015. Oral arguments, which are yet to be scheduled, will be held  in Washington, D.C. The case is listed with the Supreme Court of the United States as No. 18-877 (https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/18-877.html).

Nautilus Productions LLC (http://nautilusproductions.com/) is represented by Derek Shaffer and Todd Anten of Quinn Emanuel (https://www.quinnemanuel.com/practice-areas/intellectual-property-litigation/), Susan Freya Olive and David McKenzie of Olive and Olive, P.A. (http://www.oliveandolive.com/) and Joe Poe of the Poe Law Firm, PLLC (http://www.poelaw.com/).


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