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  • Hilary Sumner

Does Sovereign Immunity Apply to States in Copyright Infringement Cases?

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

In 1996, Blackbeard's famed ship Queen Anne's Revenge was discovered by a private salvage company. A film crew was subsequently hired to capture the expedition. The State of North Carolina used both the videos and images captured during the shoot without a license and a copyright suit was filed. North Carolina is defending itself by (i) claiming that sovereign immunity provides an exemption and (ii) that the Copyright Clarification Remedy Act (which would repeal sovereign immunity to states) is overly broad and therefore unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit has agreed. The Supreme Court is set to hear the arguments in early November.

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