Craig Wright has lost a lawsuit in the United Kingdom that could have allowed him to stop Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from operating, as seen in a February 7 court document.
In his complaint, Craig Wright argued that Bitcoin SV – the minority fork of Bitcoin – is the original version of the Bitcoin blockchain. He argued that Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash reuse elements of Bitcoin that he owns the rights to every time their software is run. Craig Wright therefore aimed to prevent the exploitation of these two chains.
Craig Wright further claimed that the inclusion of the Bitcoin white paper in the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash block 230,009 violated his copyright.
Judge James Mellor ruled that although Craig Wright’s copyright claims on the Bitcoin white paper “raise serious questions for trial“Today’s ruling concerns only whether Craig Wright’s claims about Bitcoin’s file format constitute a serious matter for trial.
Judge Mellor recognized Craig Wright’s attempts to apply copyright to the Bitcoin file format as a literary work. The judge noted that the term “literary work“could include a wide variety of subjects, including computer software and non-human readable data.
However, it does not apply in this case. Judge Mellor stated that, based on the evidence, simply running a Bitcoin node to create a new block in the Bitcoin file format does not meet the requirements of fixation or sufficient identifiability. Copyright law cannot be applied to something that “[i]s not a copyrighted work.the subject matter is not expressed or fixed anywhere“, he said.
Judge Mellor said that to avoid a default judgment against the defendants, Wright’s amended claims must remove references to copyright infringement on the Bitcoin file format. Judge Mellor also denied Craig Wright permission to appeal today’s decision; Wright will need to get the court’s permission first if he wishes to do so.
Craig Wright has repeatedly claimed that he is the creator of Bitcoin and the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
Today’s case (IL-2022-000069) represents one of Craig Wright’s many attempts to assert control over the Bitcoin landscape. It is separate from another case (BL-2021-000313) in which Wright intends to sue various Bitcoin developers on similar grounds. On February 3, Justice Colin Birss of the London Court of Appeal granted permission for a trial in the latter case.
In this latest case, it is alleged that the developers owe Wright a certain amount of bitcoins – currently 111,000 BTC or $2.5 billion. No reference to any amount was made in today’s ruling.