Blackbeard’s Ship Comes to the US Supreme Court

09 June, 2019

蜗蜗牛小游戏网 The pirate known as Blackbeard terrorized the Atlantic coast of North America in the early 1700s. In a few months, the United States Supreme Court will hear a case related to Blackbeard's ship. The case involves a filmmaker who claims the rights to images of the ship belong to him, not the state of North Carolina.

Here is what happened. Back in 1718, Blackbeard was sailing a ship named the Queen Anne's Revenge, after a former queen of England. One day the Queen Anne's Revenge and a smaller ship went into a harbor now known as Beaufort Inlet, in North Carolina. The water was not very deep, and the ships ran into the sand. (Blackbeard may have grounded the ships on purpose, but that is another story.)

Blackbeard abandoned the Queen Anne's Revenge, along with a number of its crew members. He and a few of his favorite pirates escaped with valuable treasure.

A few months later, Blackbeard was killed by British forces. And, in time, the Queen Anne's Revenge disappeared under the water. In U.S. law, the sunken ship and everything on it belongs to the state of North Carolina.

The legal battle

Jump to the year 1996. A private company found the remains of the Queen Anne's Revenge. The company used divers and archeologists to explore the wreckage and bring the artifacts to the surface.

This is an undated photo of a portrait of pirate Blackbeard. Blackbeard's real name is thought to be either Edward Teach, Edward Thatch or Tache. (AP Photo)
This is an undated photo of a portrait of pirate Blackbeard. Blackbeard's real name is thought to be either Edward Teach, Edward Thatch or Tache. (AP Photo)

A media company, Nautilus Productions, took pictures and videos of the recovery effort. The co-owner of the media company, Frederick Allen, received federal copyright protection over the images. In other words, U.S. national law says no one can use the images without getting the company's permission and paying Nautilus.

Yet North Carolina state officials used some of the images on YouTube and a state agency website without permission – some would claim the officials "pirated" them. The state government also passed a law to make some of the images into public records, free for anyone to use.

In answer, Nautilus co-owner Frederick Allen brought legal action against the state of North Carolina.

At issue is whether states must pay damages for copyright violations. Historically, the U.S. Constitution and some earlier court cases have protected states against lawsuits. But in 1990, the U.S. Congress passed a law allowing states to be sued for illegal copying.

A lower court said the 1990 law is not constitutional. Congress did not have the power to make such a law, the lower court said. As a result, a judge dismissed Allen's case.

So now, Allen is taking his argument to the U.S. Supreme Court. He says states are breaking federal law and then refusing to pay damages for their violations. He also says people who create original work need a way to object when states ignore copyright laws.

The Supreme Court has agreed only to hear the case. The justices will likely make a ruling on it next year.

I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.

Kelly Jean Kelly adapted this story based on a report by the Associated Press. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

pirate - n. someone who attacks and steals from a ship at sea

harbor - n. a part of the ocean that is next to land and that is protected and deep enough to provide safety for ships

abandon - v. to leave and never return to

artifact - n. object that was made by people in the past

sue - v. to use a legal process by which you try to get a court of law to force a person, company, or organization that has treated you unfairly or hurt you in some way to give you something or to do something

游戏秘籍 | 广州代孕 | 美国代孕网站 | 高鹰代孕 |
  • 履职日记|苏华:尽快完善“职教高考”考试招生办法_劲舞团经验表
  • 河北省委书记、省长一周动态(9月10日_笔记本什么配置好
  • 貴州省人民政府原副省長蒲波受賄案一審開绿茶有哪些种类
  • 吴晓灵:消灭风险最好的办法是允许金融机构破产_系统流
  • 东方网—上海这所学校通过多种方式“玩转”数学_lolhezi
  • 苏州环保立查立改 污水处理厂异味扰民问题得到整改_三网合一是什么意思
  • 鄂尔多斯市街道社区“一核心三融合”党建工作机制 构建城市基层社会治理新格局_佩嘉
  • Apple Watch春季表带正式更新 多彩清新配色出街必备_伽马射线爆
  • 春节移动数据流量消费增长翻倍_茶叶水洗脸
  • JTB、日之丸与京阪巴士成立新公司运营双层环游观光巴士_鲨鱼韩剧
  • 南宁警方“互联网+警务”打造指尖上的公安局_数码宝贝tri第6章
  • 高分五号、高分六号卫星正式投入使用_女王牌
  • 中航地产上半年营收27亿元 地产业务亏损2859万_开壶
  • 小学生谎称挨揍,家长暴打班主任_乐山大佛简介
  • 宁夏内蒙古首条天然气长输管道贯通_宁夏滑水麻将