The company's chief competitor, Cunard, had been emphasizing speed in its new trans-Atlantic liners, and White Star decided to counter with opulence. The luxury liner Titanic departs Southampton, bound for New York City on her maiden voyage. Congress passes RMS Titanic Maritime Memorial Act, a symbolic declaration that the wreck should be left untouched. January 1993: RMS Titanic recovers 800 artifacts and seeks exclusive salvage rights. 1997: A Titanic exhibition opens in Memphis, St. Petersburg, Fla., Norfolk, Va., and Hamburg, Germany, and James Cameron's blockbuster movie "Titanic" is released. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals orders U.S. District Court to apply the principles of traditional salvage law to the wreck of the Titanic in a manner that serves "the public interest and at the same time provides an appropriate award for the salvor." U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith rules that Atlanta-based RMS Titanic Inc. has title to the artifacts and is entitled to compensation for them. The conditions issued with her ruling require that RMS Titanic Inc. make the artifacts available for public display, historical review and scientific research.