Craig Wright claims copyright for Bitcoin and Bitcoin Whitepaper
Craig Wright is now the official copyright holder of both the Bitcoin protocol and Bitcoin white paper. It is a sad day for Bitcoin, and one that erodes the strength to the movement brought by the anonymity of its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Craig Wright’s claim to the works was registered today by the US Copyright Office and will remain in place until contested. Copyright is designed to automatically protect work from the moment it is created, but filing for copyright is a way to ensure that intellectual property isn’t contested. Where there have been no prior claims to the works – the application is typically rubber stamped.
Jerry Brito commented, ‘Registering a copyright is just filing a form. The Copyright Office does not investigate the validity of the claim; they just register it. Unfortunately there is no official way to challenge a registration. If there are competing claims, the Office will just register all of them.’
It is clear that Craig Wright was involved in Bitcoin from an early stage but to date he has not been able to conclusively prove his claim. The cryptocurrency community have repeatedly called for cryptographic proofs in the form of a signed transaction, but it seems that government offices are happy with softer forms of ‘evidence’.
The newly-acknowledged copyright shifts the Satoshi claim slightly further towards Wright’s favour. Others may have to prove he is not Satoshi, rather than Wright proving that he is. If anyone has evidence to counter Wright’s claim, now is the time to submit it. Until then Craig Wright will hold copyright and legal rights to the Bitcoin whitepaper and code.
Wright’s actions could be seen as a somewhat hostile, particularly as Craig Wright openly promotes his competing currency Bitcoin Satoshi Vision as the ‘one true currency’. It would appear that the BSV camp is pulling out all the stops to support their claim. It will be interesting to see if this development supports Wrights defence in the Ira Kleiman court case, now that the US government can be argued to have officially recognised him as the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. We can only wonder what his next move is.