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[翻译]AS IT IS - Blackbeard’s Ship Comes to the US Supreme Court

更新时间:2019/6/10 20:00:53 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

The pirate known as Blackbeard terrorized the Atlantic coast of North America in the early 1700s. In a few months, the United States Supreme Court will hear a case related to Blackbeard’s ship. The case involves a filmmaker who claims the rights to images of the ship belong to him, not the state of North Carolina.


Here is what happened. Back in 1718, Blackbeard was sailing a ship named the Queen Anne’s Revenge, after a former queen of England. One day the Queen Anne’s Revenge and a smaller ship went into a harbor now known as Beaufort Inlet, in North Carolina. The water was not very deep, and the ships ran into the sand. (Blackbeard may have grounded the ships on purpose, but that is another story.)

以下是事情原委。 回到1718年,海盗黑胡子驾驶着一艘名为安妮女王复仇号的海盗船,它是用前英格兰女王的名字命名的。有一天,安妮女王复仇号和一艘更小的船驶入了北卡罗莱纳州现在的波福特湾。这里的水不是很深,船陷入了泥沙里。(黑胡子可能故意让这些船搁浅,但那是另一个故事。)

Blackbeard abandoned the Queen Anne’s Revenge, along with a number of its crew members. He and a few of his favorite pirates escaped with valuable treasure.


A few months later, Blackbeard was killed by British forces. And, in time, the Queen Anne’s Revenge disappeared under the water. In U.S. law, the sunken ship and everything on it belongs to the state of North Carolina.


The legal battle


Jump to the year 1996. A private company found the remains of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The company used divers and archeologists to explore the wreckage and bring the artifacts to the surface.


A media company, Nautilus Productions, took pictures and videos of the recovery effort. The co-owner of the media company, Frederick Allen, received federal copyright protection over the images. In other words, U.S. national law says no one can use the images without getting the company’s permission and paying Nautilus.

一家名为Nautilus Productions的媒体公司拍摄了打捞作业的照片和视频。这家媒体公司的共有人弗雷德里克·艾伦(Frederick Allen)获得了对这些图像的联邦版权。换句话说,美国法律规定,未经这家公司允许并支付费用,任何人不得使用这些图像。

Yet North Carolina state officials used some of the images on YouTube and a state agency website without permission – some would claim the officials “pirated” them. The state government also passed a law to make some of the images into public records, free for anyone to use.


In answer, Nautilus co-owner Frederick Allen brought legal action against the state of North Carolina.


At issue is whether states must pay damages for copyright violations. Historically, the U.S. Constitution and some earlier court cases have protected states against lawsuits. But in 1990, the U.S. Congress passed a law allowing states to be sued for illegal copying.


A lower court said the 1990 law is not constitutional. Congress did not have the power to make such a law, the lower court said. As a result, a judge dismissed Allen’s case.


So now, Allen is taking his argument to the U.S. Supreme Court. He says states are breaking federal law and then refusing to pay damages for their violations. He also says people who create original work need a way to object when states ignore copyright laws.


The Supreme Court has agreed only to hear the case. The justices will likely make a ruling on it next year.


I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.

Words in This Story

pirate - n. someone who attacks and steals from a ship at sea

harbor - n. a part of the ocean that is next to land and that is protected and deep enough to provide safety for ships

abandon - v. to leave and never return to

artifact - n. object that was made by people in the past

sue - v. to use a legal process by which you try to get a court of law to force a person, company, or organization that has treated you unfairly or hurt you in some way to give you something or to do something