The state of North Carolina has immunity and can’t be sued for using copyright protected work documenting the shipwreck of Blackbeard the pirate’s flagship, a federal appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit June 10 reversed a lower court’s ruling in a lawsuit by videographer Rick Allen, who claimed the state waived immunity from a copyright lawsuit in a 2013 agreement and infringed by posting online his copyrighted work about the ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge.

A 2013 settlement between Allen’s production company and the state noted that the parties “may avail themselves of all remedies...