Australian computer scientist Craig Wright has found himself on the losing end of a bitcoin-related copyright case. It has been decided by a U.K. judge that the file format of the bitcoin blockchain project can’t be protected by any form of copyright law.
Craig Wright Holds a Losing Torch
Wright has been at the center of controversy in the crypto space for several years. Not long ago, Wright made the claim that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of the world’s number one digital currency by market cap. He claims to have written the 2008 whitepaper that first introduced bitcoin to the world on Halloween of that year.
In a recent copyright case, Wright says that as the inventor of the asset, he should be allowed to block any operation of bitcoin and all systems that derived from it (i.e., bitcoin cash) as they breach the intellectual property rights he presently holds. The defendants in question involved a wide array of crypto analysts, experts, and executives, including those of popular digital currency exchange Coinbase.
In his arguments, Wright said that his new cryptocurrency Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV or bitcoin SV) is the only authentic, bitcoin-based asset available on the market today. Wright created the asset through a bitcoin fork that occurred several years back.
Judge James Mellor – who oversaw the case – said that the current block format of bitcoin cannot be treated under copyright laws given that it’s not a literary work. In addition, as Wright is unable to show how and where the first bitcoin blocks were recorded (through a test known as “fixation”), the rules cannot and should not apply. In a statement, he said:
I do not see any prospect of the law as currently stated and understood in the case law allowing copyright protection of subject matter which is not expressed or fixed anywhere. It remains the case that no relevant ‘work’ has been identified containing content which defines the structure of the bitcoin file format.
Is He Satoshi or Not?
Despite the ruling, it appears the case is not entirely over. The judge mentioned that future hearings will take place to determine if Wright’s claims of being Satoshi Nakamoto are fact or fiction. This was initially decided by a U.K. appeals court, who stated in a separate filing that a trial in London will likely occur given the amount of witnesses that rebuke the claim that Wright is the official birther of bitcoin.
Among the evidence these witnesses claim to have include documents that don’t support the idea of Wright being who he says he is even though he insists they do. They say these documents are written in fonts that ultimately didn’t exist at the time of the whitepaper’s creation, and thus Wright could not have been at the core of its development.
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