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Copyright law has a huge blind spot — a blind spot that only came to light because of Blackbeard. But there is no honor among
thieves pirates states, and about a year after North Carolina promised not to infringe Allen’s copyrights, the state passed “Blackbeard’s Law.” READ MORE
States continue to benefit from copyright protections, but they avoid accountability for their own copyright infringement. As made clear by the legal briefs submitted in the case before the Supreme Court, as well as by comments recently submitted in response to the ongoing Copyright Office sovereign immunity study, the problem of states routinely ignoring the property rights protected by federal law is widespread and significant. READ WHITE PAPER
Rick Allen strapped on his scuba gear and peered over the edge of the barge. He’d made this same dive to Blackbeard’s infamous shipwreck, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, more than 200 times before — but not like this, not since his life-altering accident on Jan. 3, 2011. READ THE STORY
My dear friend, colleague and beloved mentor, Bill Lovin, passed away quietly in his sleep last night. The ravages of Parkinson’s finally sent him on his last dive.
To say that Bill was one of the most generous, kind and talented people I know would be an understatement. He took me under his prodigious wing decades ago and we have been fast friends ever since. He was always quick to share advice, equipment and work with a young underwater filmmaker following in the steps of a man who was the first to document on film the amazing shipwrecks lying off the North Carolina coast. He introduced me to the big boys in the dive world and taught me that all food was great but Mexican food was the best. Every Thanksgiving for 25 years he and Jovita joined Cindy and I and our family for a raucous dinner and celebration.
In the dive community he is legend. And my heart is broken.
In his last years Bill and Jovita worked tirelessly to move his amazing underwater film library online. Oceanarchives.com (https://oceanarchives.com/) was their gift to students and educators and is intended to be a free resource for all lovers of our water planet going forward. Through his work, his legacy and his name, his spirit will live with all of us who were touched by this amazing man and friend.
Fair winds and following seas Bill . . . I will carry you and Jovita with me always.
When the US Supreme Court ruled earlier this year in Allen v. Cooper, the outcome for an unusual copyright infringement case left many IP creators dismayed, though it may have pleased Blackbeard the pirate. Videographer Rick Allen had sued the State of North Carolina when he’d learned it was using his exclusive underwater footage showing the wreckage of Blackbeard’s flagship vessel without his permission. Allen cited the CRCA, which was passed expressly to prevent such infringements. Nevertheless, the state argued that sovereign immunity shielded it from any such claims. READ MORE
You wouldn’t think that a state entity would have the right to seize your intellectual property any more than it would have the right to seize other forms of property without due process. But it can. In this podcast, I talk with filmmaker Rick Allen, who documented the recovery of Queen Anne's Revenge, and copyright expert and advocate Kevin Madigan about the challenge that state sovereign immunity poses to creators of copyrightable works. READ MORE