Craig Wright wins Bitcoin white paper copyright suit by default
London’s High Court ruled Monday that Cøbra — the pseudonymous figure behind educational portal Bitcoin.org — must cease serving Bitcoin’s white paper in the UK, awarding default victory to Craig Wright.
The decision comes after Cøbra failed to respond to a lawsuit served by the white paper’s self-proclaimed owner Wright in April.
Wright, a litigious Australian entrepreneur, has repeatedly claimed to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto since Wired first floated the theory in 2015.
Wright so far hasn’t produced concrete proof of his claim to the Nakamoto moniker. Nonetheless, Wright’s persistently taken legal action against those who claim his motives are fraudulent.
[Read more: OKCoin to delist Bitcoin forks, blames Craig Wright’s ‘unproven’ claims]
Wright previously sued a Twitter-based cartoon astronaut cat named Hodlonaut and podcaster Peter McCormack over their public criticism.
Cøbra didn’t dox themselves
In February, Wright triggered a copyright case against Cøbra, one month after proclaiming intent to sue any site that refused to scrub the document.
Wright then won permission to serve Bitcoin.org’s Cøbra — who resides outside UK jurisdiction — via email due to their continued refusal to reveal their identity.
Cøbra was subsequently given 22 days to respond to Wright’s claim. Initially, they said they were more than happy to fight Wright all the way — even if it meant doxxing themselves.
[Read more: Square’s COPA asks UK court to rule Craig Wright didn’t create Bitcoin]
While Cøbra and/or their legal representatives attended this week’s High Court hearing, they opted not make oral submissions.
Judges therefore awarded Wright victory by default, despite Nakamoto originally sharing Bitcoin’s white paper under the permissive free software MIT license.
[Read more: Finney ‘most likely’ Bitcoin’s Nakamoto, say researchers]
Wright’s legal team said in a statement: “This is an important development in [Wright’s] quest to obtain judicial vindication of his copyright in his [w]hite [p]aper.
Cøbra must now host a notice of the judgement on Bitcoin.org for six months and block UK users from accessing the Bitcoin white paper.
An inquiry will take place to determine any potential damages awardable to Wright.
In the meantime, the court ordered Cøbra to pay Wright’s legal costs amounting to £35,000 ($48,400).
Cøbra says he’ll pay Wright — to Nakamoto’s address
According to Cøbra, the outcome perfectly illustrates the necessity of open source protocols like Bitcoin.
Addressing the verdict via Twitter, they reasoned the rules governing Bitcoin (don’t trust, verify) are fairer than a system based on “who can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in court.”
[Read more: Craig Wright says he’ll sue over the Bitcoin whitepaper — these 108 sites don’t care]
Cøbra also said they’d gladly pay Wright’s related legal costs.
“How does a [Bitcoin] payment to the address associated with block #9 sound?” tweeted Cøbra, referring to a block mined by Nakamoto back in 2009.
Edit 09:45 UTC, July 1: Clarified that Bitcoin.org must stop offering the white paper to UK users only, not worldwide.