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Amid legal battle, North Carolina lawmakers wade into fray over Blackbeard's pirate ship

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina lawmakers are wading into a legal battle between the state and the explorers of Blackbeard's pirate ship over the rights to footage from the famed wreck.

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources last week asked state senators to amend a bill to say that any photographs or video footage of a shipwreck held by the state or its agencies are public property.

The company that discovered the Queen Anne's Revenge sued the state for $8 million on Monday, claiming the state broke its contract by allowing more than 2,000 of the company's images to be published without a watermark, among other actions.

A representative for Florida-based Intersal, the shipwreck-hunting company, called the legislation an attempt to undercut the lawsuit. State officials say it wouldn't apply retroactively.

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