The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the state government is free to infringe copyrights without fear of retribution. In Allen v. Cooper, the Supreme Court decided whether the state of North Carolina could be held liable under the Copyright Act for infringing filmmaker Frederick Allen’s copyright relating to Queen Anne’s Revenge. If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is, in fact, the flagship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

The facts giving rise to this dispute go back to the 1990s. Well, to be clear, the facts giving rise to the dispute go back to 1717 when Blackbeard was using Queen Anne’s Revenge to carry out his plunderous activities. In any event, in the 1990s, a research firm located the shipwreck and hired Frederick Allen to film their recovery efforts. During this process, Allen’s company recorded video and took photographs, which were registered with the United States Copyright Office.
Continue Reading SCOTUS Rules That North Carolina is Protected from Copyright Infringement Claims by Sovereign Immunity