Allen sued the state for copyright infringement, and the state moved to excuse on the grounds of sovereign invulnerability under the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Allen contended that the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA) — which characterizes likely infringers of copyright to incorporate "any State, any instrumentality of a State, and any official of a State or instrumentality of a State acting in their official limit"— annuls state sovereign invulnerability for copyright infringement claims. 

The local court denied the movement to excuse, finding enticing Allen's contentions with respect to the CRCA's annulment of sovereign resistance. The Fourth Circuit switched, finding that Congress needed position to annul state sovereign invulnerability by means of the CRCA. 


In 1996, a private specialist recruited applicant Frederick Allen and his organization, Nautilus Productions, LLC, to record the as of late found wreck of Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge, which steered into the rocks at Beaufort, North Carolina, in 1718. Allen recorded the wreck for almost twenty years in photos and recordings and enrolled his works with the U.S. Copyright Office. 

Eventually before October 2013, the province of North Carolina posted online different of the copyrighted works of Allen without his consent. In October 2013, the state and other included gatherings went into a settlement concurrence with Allen and his organization paying him for the infringement of his works and making a deal to avoid encroaching the works going ahead. At that point, the state eliminated its encroaching works, however without further ado subsequently; it again posted and distributed Allen's works. The state at that point passed "Blackbeard's Law," which purportedly changed over Allen's into "openly available report" materials that the state could utilize uninhibitedly.


Did Congress truly annul state sovereign insusceptibility through the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act, which permits creators of unique articulation to sue states who encroach their government copyrights?

Congress did not have the position to revoke state sovereign invulnerability from copyright infringement suits. Equity Elena Kagan created the sentiment for the Court consistent in the judgment. To start with, the Court thought about whether, in the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act, Congress had authorized "unequivocal legal language" annulling the states' insusceptibility from claims. The Court presumed that it had. Next, the Court thought about whether Congress had position to do as such. 

The constitution approved the activity of that power, yet the Court dismissed that hypothesis in Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. School Savings Board, 527 U.S. 627 (1999), and stare decisis requires following that point of reference except if there is a "extraordinary defense" to topple it. Neither section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment gives Congress the power to annul state sovereign invulnerability from copyright infringement suits. For Congress' activity to fall inside its Section 5 authority "there must be a coinciding and proportionality between the injury to be forestalled and the methods embraced keeping that in mind." without any proof of this nature, the CRCA bombs this test. Consequently, Congress needed position to repeal state sovereign insusceptibility in that Act. 

Read the full Supreme Court opinion here:

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed throughout this blog are the views and opinions of the individual author(s) and/or contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of our firm, CIONCA IP Law. P.C.

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  • CIONCA IP TEAM (SE)12/1/2020 5:07:58 PM

    Allen v. Cooper, Governor of North Carolina

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Marin Cionca, Esq.

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