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USPTO & Copyright Office to Take on Sovereign Immunity in Copyright
United States Supreme Court Ruling Creates Copyright Uproar!
By: Nautilus Productions
On April 28, 2020, in the wake of the disastrous Supreme Court decision against copyright holders in Allen v. Cooper, Senators Thom Tillis (R) and Patrick Leahy (D) have called for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office to "advise on the pervasiveness and prevalence of States' infringements of copyrights."
Nautilus, the official videographer of Blackbeard's pirate ship the Queen Anne's Revenge, brought suit at the end of 2015 alleging the defendants made illegal copies of Nautilus's videography, and then persuaded the legislature to pass an extraordinary law - now known as "Blackbeard's Law" - in an attempt to justify pirating decades of work created by Nautilus.
Nautilus owner, Rick Allen, stated, "Under this Supreme Court ruling, writers, software developers, composers, film-makers and other creators, just like me, cannot avail themselves of the protection Congress gave them from copyright infringement by states. We are saddened by the court's decision. The state of North Carolina routinely and vigorously enforces its own copyrights, yet simultaneously hides behind sovereign immunity when it violates the intellectual property rights of its own citizens. The Constitution and Congress of the United States of America call for a different result. The Constitution expressly grants copyright holders 'the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries,' and Congress expressly provided for States to be liable when they infringe those exclusive rights."
This lawsuit arises out of the retrieval of Blackbeard's pirate ship. According to the complaint filed in the case, the defendants were not content to use the videography as agreed and began making unauthorized copies, covering up their misconduct and passing and amending legislation to protect their copyright infringements. Defendants in addition to the Governor and the State include employees of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the Friends of Queen Anne's Revenge non-profit. The Friends of Queen Anne's Revenge dissolved their corporation after the lawsuit was filed and are being defended by their insurance carrier.
The shipwreck was discovered in 1996 by Intersal Inc., which has filed a separate lawsuit against North Carolina and the Friends of Queen Anne's Revenge that continues in state business court.
Nautilus Productions LLC is represented by Susan Freya Olive and David McKenzie of Olive and Olive, P.A. and Joe Poe of the Poe Law Firm, PLLC.
Page Updated Last on: Apr 29, 2020