Dr. Wright originally instructed ONTIER to send out copyright infringement notices to a number of parties that were hosting the Bitcoin white paper online on the basis that Dr. Wright, being the author of the paper, is the copyright owner. Cøbra holds themselves out as the owner of bitcoin.org, one of the websites identified by Dr. Wright as illegitimately hosting the white paper and to whom one of the initial letters were sent. The purpose of those letters is to put a party on notice that court proceedings may be brought against them if they do not take (or refrain from taking) a specific course of action. The white paper is still available at bitcoin.org, and as such the formal proceedings were commenced by Dr. Wright on February 24.
Yesterday, the Court granted Dr. Wright permission to serve Cøbra out of the U.K. jurisdiction and in the United States. It is an important requirement that a claimant must seek and obtain permission from the Court in order to serve papers on a defendant who is not located within (or not known to be located within) the United Kingdom. Cøbra is obviously a pseudonym, whose identity and location are not publicly available, so this application was a necessary step for Dr. Wright to pursue his claim.
Though not surprising from a legal point of view, the progress of this case should be a signal for others to tread carefully when dealing with people who are determined to enforce their rights. Cøbra is a relatively anonymous figure, whose identity is the source of much speculation, and despite refusing to disclose their name or location (presumably hoping to avoid service) they are already well on the way to having to answer to Dr. Wright in court. A Twitter handle was not enough to stave off this litigation, a discovery they now share with the likes of Magnus ‘Hodlonaut’ Granath.
ONTIER’s announcement ends with the following paragraph, echoing our own previous speculation about Dr. Wright’s motivations in bringing the lawsuits:
“It is not Dr. Wright’s intention to silence or intimidate anyone, merely to protect his inherent rights to his own intellectual property. Similarly, Dr. Wright does not wish to restrict access to his White Paper (which is freely accessible on his blog, https://craigwright.net/bitcoin-white-paper.pdf) but does not agree that it should be used by supporters and developers of alternative assets, such as Bitcoin Core, to promote or otherwise misrepresent those assets as being Bitcoin given that they do not support or align with the vision for Bitcoin as he set out in the White Paper.”
Dr. Wright welcomes the review and analysis of his White Paper, saying, “I would like people to understand bitcoin. Primarily, it is a system that has been designed as electronic cash with an immutable record that allows for traceability. As a micropayment system, there is no need for organisations to handle AML/KYC, and any small transaction system that is set up does not require the implementation of the know your customer rules. However, in how many other organisations are trying to deploy blockchain-based systems, the aspects of the White Paper the firewall identity could have been used to create a system that maintains identity off-chain while linking it to the transaction stream. I welcome this opportunity to have the foundational aspects of Bitcoin explained through court and to finally dispel the false mythology that has been created around my system.”
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