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

The Supreme Court is set to hear the case of Allen v. Cooper which addresses the constitutionality of the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (“CRCA”). The purpose of the CRCA is to abrogate sovereign immunity enjoyed by States and State actors under the Eleventh Amendment for claims of copyright infringement. The CRCA provides as follows:
Continue Reading Supreme Court Ruling In Pirate Ship Copyright Case Could Sink State Immunity