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North Carolina wins court piracy case over Blackbeard's ship

The 21st-century dispute arose over the Queen Anne's Revenge, which ran aground more than 300 years ago.
Credit: AP Photo
This is an undated portrait of pirate Blackbeard. Blackbeard's real name is thought to be either Edward Teach, Edward Thatch or Tache.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is ruling unanimously for North Carolina in a copyright fight with a company that has documented the salvage of the pirate Blackbeard's ship off the state's coast. 

Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court Monday that the company's copyright infringement lawsuit could not go forward because the Constitution generally protects states from lawsuits in federal courts. 

The 21st-century dispute arose over the Queen Anne's Revenge, which ran aground more than 300 years ago. 

The ship is the property of the state, but under an agreement, North Carolina-based Nautilus Productions has for nearly two decades documented the ship's salvage. In the process, the company copyrighted photos and videos. 

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