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Blackbeard's shipwreck lawsuit will proceed

Missouri history buffs might be interested in a lawsuit that is ongoing in a federal district court. The lawsuit, which was filed by a videographer against the state of North Carolina, alleges that the state's Blackbeard's Law is invalid under U.S. copyright law.

The plaintiff alleges that the state illegally copied his videos of Blackbeard's shipwreck. After North Carolina copied his videos, it passed Blackbeard's Law, which was meant to declare that its actions were legal. The law was passed in 2015 and 2016 after the plaintiff's dispute with the state arose over photographs and videos that he took of the shipwreck.

Blackbeard's Law states that photographs and videos of shipwrecks off of North Carolina's coast are public property and may be made available to the public for nominal copying costs. The plaintiff holds copyrights over his pictures and videos, and he is alleging that the state violated his copyrights under federal law. The court ruled that his lawsuit against North Carolina will be allowed to continue. In addition to the photographer, a Florida company has also filed a lawsuit against North Carolina regarding its interest in the shipwreck.

Commercial lawsuits sometimes result from intellectual property disputes, including disputes concerning trademarks and copyrights. When individuals or companies believe that others have infringed on their intellectual property, they might want to consult with attorneys who are experienced in this type of litigation. These attorneys might attempt to negotiate favorable settlements. If they are not able to do so, they may file lawsuits to seek damages in order to help to make their clients whole. They may also request injunctions against the infringing parties to prevent them from continuing to use their clients' material.

Source: The Fayetteville Observer, "Judge allows lawsuit over Blackbeard's shipwreck to proceed," Paul Woolverton, March 28, 2017

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