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High court will hear copyright dispute involving Blackbeard’s ship

June 3, 2019

A dispute involving the pirate Blackbeard’s ship is on deck for the Supreme Court’s next term.

The justices said Monday they will hear a copyright dispute involving video and a photograph of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The ship was discovered off North Carolina in 1996.

The case the justices agreed to hear pits the state of North Carolina against a company that has documented the ship’s salvage. North Carolina-based Nautilus Productions has for nearly two decades documented the ship’s recovery. The company sued the state over copyrighted photos and videos that were used by the state on a state YouTube channel and newsletter.

A trial court allowed the case to go forward but an appeals court dismissed it. The Supreme Court will decide whether the lawsuit can go forward.

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