Bloomberg Law
Aug. 7, 2019, 3:25 PMUpdated: Aug. 7, 2019, 6:51 PM

Blackbeard Filmmaker to Justices: Let Me Sue North Carolina (1)

Alexis Kramer
Alexis Kramer

A videographer who documented the shipwreck of Blackbeard’s pirate ship wants the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that he can sue North Carolina for allegedly posting his copyrighted works online.

Rick Allen said in an Aug. 6 petition that the justices should uphold the validity of a decades-old copyright law allowing plaintiffs to sue states for copyright infringement in federal court.

The case, involving underwater footage of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, spotlights the tension between state sovereign immunity and Congress’ power to protect intellectual property rights. The 11th Amendment protects states’ sovereignty. But Article I empowers Congress to protect intellectual ...