Craig Wright loses U.K. case as judge rules Bitcoin file format can’t be copyrighted
Craig Wright has lost a lawsuit in the UK that could have prevented Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from operating. February 7 Court Submissions.
In his claims, Wright claimed that a minority fork of Bitcoin, Bitcoin SV, was the original version of the Bitcoin blockchain. He argued that Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash reuse elements of Bitcoin to which he has rights each time the software runs. Wright therefore intended these he two chains to stop their operation.
Wright further argued that the inclusion of the Bitcoin whitepaper in the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash block 230,009 violated his copyright.
Judge James Mellor says Wright’s copyright claim to Bitcoin’s white paper “raises serious questions to be heard,” but today’s ruling confirms that Wright’s claim to Bitcoin’s file format will be heard. He stated that it was only concerned with whether or not it constitutes a serious matter.
Judge Mellor upheld Wright’s attempt to apply copyright to the Bitcoin file format as a copyrighted work. The judge noted that the term “literary work” can include a variety of subjects, including computer software and non-human-readable data.
However, it does not apply in this case. Judge Mellor said, based on the evidence, simply running a Bitcoin node to create new blocks in the Bitcoin file format does not meet the fixed or sufficient identification requirements. It cannot be applied, he said, to “where the subject is not expressed or fixed anywhere.”
To prevent a default judgment against the defendants, Judge Mellor said the amended argument from Wright must remove references to Bitcoin file format copyright infringement. Mellor also denied permission for Wright to appeal today’s decision. If Mr. Wright wishes to do so, he must first obtain the court’s permission.
Wright has repeatedly claimed to be the creator of Bitcoin and the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
Today’s case (IL-2022-000069) is one of Wright’s many attempts to dominate the Bitcoin world. This is separate from another case (BL-2021-000313) where Wright is trying to sue various Bitcoin developers for similar reasons. On 3 February, Colin Bath Judge of the London Court of Appeal allowed the latter case to go to trial.
In the latter case, developers claim they owe Wright an amount of Bitcoin. Currently 111,000 BTC or $2.5 billion. No amount is mentioned in today’s ruling.