Square’s COPA Takes Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor Craig Wright To Court Over Whitepaper Copyright Claims


Controversial entrepreneur Craig Wright, known for publicly identifying himself as Satoshi Nakamoto, the Bitcoin inventor, is being sued by the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) over claims to his ownership of the Bitcoin white paper.

Craig Wright Sued by Square's COPA

COPA, the cryptocurrency group committed to patent sharing and headed by payments firm Square, filed the lawsuit against Wright in a High Court based in the U.K.

The group asks the court to affirm that Wright does not own the Bitcoin white paper and the use of the white paper doesn't infringe on any copyright held by Wright.

COPA is also seeking an injunction that would restrain Wright from ever claiming he authored the document. The group also asks for an order that would require him to foot the bill for disseminating information that he is not the owner.

The Bitcoin white paper, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” was published by Satoshi Nakamoto under an MIT public license in 2008 and is distributed widely in many forms around the world.

Before this lawsuit, the Australian computer scientist who has claimed to be the pseudonymous Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto since 2016 had sent out a cease-and-desist notice to Square. The notice sent through Wright's representatives and dated January 21, 2021, had demanded that Square stop hosting the Bitcoin whitepaper on its site.

COPA had responded on Square's behalf, demanding Wright to prove that he was indeed Satoshi Nakamoto, the whitepaper's creator. Wright did not respond with the proof by the February 19 deadline set by COPA.

Square was not the only one Wright sent letters to as he gave the same cease-and-desist notice to Bitcoin developers, Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org.

While Bitcoincore.org's hastened to remove the white paper from the site, Bitcoin.org's pseudonymous owner Cobra refused to do so, arguing that the Bitcoin whitepaper was published under the MIT license, allowing for free distribution.

The self-proclaimed Bitcoin investor claims ownership of the whitepaper because he filed a copyright claim in 2019 with the US Copyright Office for the original Bitcoin code and the BTC whitepaper.

However, simply filing a claim does not necessarily mean that the assignation of ownership is final.

COPA Representing Bitcoin Developers In Case Against Wright

Wright seems to have been the one blowing the legal trumpet by sending out notices through his representatives. However, it looks like his legal crusade has taken a twist with this lawsuit filed by COPA.

Now, COPA represents the Bitcoin community, particularly developers in the fight against the white paper publication. The group said,

“We stand in support of the Bitcoin developer community and the many others who've been threatened for hosting the White Paper.”

Established in September 2020 by Square to prevent patent trolling, the members include crypto exchanges Coinbase, Kraken, OKCoin, MicroStrategy, Blockstream, BitPay, among others.

Beyond the white paper, Wright has also previously filed a lawsuit demanding Bitcoin developers give him access to stolen Mt. Gox funds.

He had alleged that 110,000 bitcoin was stolen from him through wallets connected to the Mt. Gox hack. Through his law firm Ontier LLP, Wright wrote a letter addressed to Bitcoin Core contributors demanding them to give him access to two wallets even though they had no control over the network's wallets.

According to Wright, the stolen wallets were linked to the hack that gulped 800,000 BTC from the world's then most popular bitcoin exchange in 2014, Mt. Gox.

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