Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, built his reputation as a highly feared pirate in just two years. After the planters of North Carolina complained to the governor his rampaging was costing them money, a British naval ship was sent out to stop him. Which they did, in spades.
After the fight, Queen Anne's Revenge was sunk and Blackbeard, who had been killed in the action, was decapitated and his head afixed to the bowsprit of the British ship! (I know, gruesome!) The action took place off Ocracoke Island, North Carolina on 22 November 1718. And now, 300 years later, his saga lives on.... see below.
(From USA Today)
WASHINGTON – Argh, matey! The Supreme Court is digging into a dispute over a sunken pirate ship captained three centuries ago by the legendary pirate Blackbeard.
The case, to be heard in the court's next term beginning in October, pits North Carolina against a video production company documenting the salvaging of the shipwreck Queen Anne's Revenge, which ran aground in 1718 and was discovered in 1996.
The state, which owns the pirate ship and its artifacts, posted video and photos shot by Nautilus Productions as part of its tourism efforts. It enacted a statute, known as "Blackbeard's Law," to convert the salvage effort into public record.
More than 300 items from the sunken ship are displayed at the state-owned North Carolina Maritime Museum, including a 2-ton cannon. The state holds annual pirate festivals to mark the famed pirate's notoriety.
Although federal law protects such copyrighted material from infringement, a federal appeals court agreed with North Carolina that states are immune under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution from some private copyright infringement claims. The ruling did not extend blanket immunity to states for all copyright violations.
That didn't sit well with the videographers, who resorted to a play on words in their Supreme Court filing.
"After Nautilus spent nearly two decades creating works by photographing and filming (at considerable risk) underwater excavation of Blackbeard’s famed Queen Anne’s Revenge, the state brazenly pirated them," the company protested.
There is sure to be more on this in the autumn when the Supreme Court of the United States hears the case and we will try to bring you their decision.
Until next time,