Craig Wright lost a case in the UK that could have allowed him to stop Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from operating, as seen in a February 7 filing in court.
In his request, Wright argued that Bitcoin SV – his minority fork of Bitcoin – is the original version of the Bitcoin blockchain. He argued that Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash reuse elements of Bitcoin to which he owns the rights whenever their software is run. Wright therefore aimed to prevent the operation of these two chains.
Wright also claimed that the Bitcoin white paper’s inclusion in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash block 230,009 violates its copyright.
Judge James Mellor said that while Wright’s copyright claims in the Bitcoin whitepaper “raise serious issues to adjudicate”, today’s judgment is solely about whether Wright’s claims on bitcoin’s file format is a serious issue to judge.
Judge Mellor acknowledged Wright’s attempts to enforce copyright in the bitcoin file format as a literary work. The judge noted that the term “literary work” could include a wide variety of subject matter, including computer software and non-human readable data.
However, it does not apply in this case. Judge Mellor said 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 for fixation or sufficient identifiability. Copyright law cannot be applied to something whose “subject matter is nowhere expressed or fixed”, he said.
Judge Mellor said that to avoid default judgments against defendants, Wright’s amended claims must remove references to copyright infringement on the Bitcoin file format. Mellor further denied Wright leave to appeal today’s decision; Wright will first have to get permission from the court if he wants it.
Wright has repeatedly claimed that he was the creator of Bitcoin and the individual behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
Today’s case (IL-2022-000069) represents one of many attempts by Wright 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, Judge Colin Birss of the London Court of Appeal allowed the latter case to proceed to trial.
This latest case alleges that the developers owe Wright an amount of Bitcoin – currently 111,000 BTC or $2.5 billion. No reference to any amount was made in today’s judgment.