Dr. Craig Wright has filed an Amended Defence in COPA’s lawsuit against him concerning his copyright ownership over the Bitcoin whitepaper, appearing ready and able to answer the suit before the English High Court.
COPA began the proceedings in April after Dr. Wright sent copyright infringement notices to certain parties who were illegitimately hosting the whitepaper. At the time, COPA brought the action only on its own behalf. COPA are seeking the court to declare that Dr. Wright does not have copyright ownership rights over the document as its author.
Dr. Wright first filed his defense in May. However, in June COPA informed Dr. Wright that it intended to alter its standing in the action so that it was acting not only on its own behalf, but also as representative, and on behalf, of four of its 33 members (Square, Coinbase, Kraken and MicroStrategy). Having obtained Dr. Wright’s consent—and subsequently the Court’s permission—for its proposal, COPA served its Amended Particulars of Claim on September 15. Dr. Wright has since served his consequentially Amended Defence.
The Alliance is only the latest of Dr. Wright’s critics to claim to embrace a legal battle with him; for Wright’s part, he been consistent that he’s only interested in responding to challenges against him if it’s in a court. When it comes time for the challengers to walk the walk, however, they seem to disappear. Will COPA be different?
In terms of content, there isn’t much in the Defence that will be surprising. Much of it is concerned with contradicting or correcting the narrative spun in COPA’s Particulars of Claim, which is small work considering many of COPA’s assertions are made without basis, while Dr. Wright’s answers are simply those he has given many times before.
For example, COPA’s claim repeats the falsehood that Dr. Wright has failed to cryptographically prove his identity as Satoshi Nakamoto; Dr. Wright has consistently maintained that it isn’t possible, and that the possession of private keys does not prove identity.
Dr. Wright also asserts when and where the whitepaper was first released—to The Cryptography Mailing List on October 31, 2008, and the Bitcoin code releasing on SourceForge shortly after, on January 9, 2009. The defense makes clear that the code was initially distributed under the MIT license, but the whitepaper itself was not, contrary to the assumption made in COPA’s suit.
There are also smaller technical errors in COPA’s version of events, such as the incorrect description of the creation of the genesis block as “mining,” which Dr. Wright’s response meticulously picks apart.
The Defence also points out the obvious, uncomfortable reality for COPA, which is that Dr. Wright has already succeeded in the only one of his white paper cases to make it to a courtroom to date.
COPA now has until October 11 to serve their Amended Reply to Dr. Wright’s Amended Defence. Though it might not seem like it owing to the fact that COPA is the plaintiff, the ball is in their court at this point. Dr. Wright has successfully pursued a claim over the white paper in the same court in which COPA now seeks to sue him, and everything about this defense suggests that Dr. Wright is steadfast in his willingness to prove his claim to the Satoshi name in court.
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