Bitcoin Copyright Infringement Claim Ends with Default Judgement in the UK

Bitcoin creator and Ontier LLP client, Dr. Craig Wright, wins a lawsuit in the High Court in the UK over copyright infringement of the academic white paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”

Court Actions Regarding Infringement of an Academic White Paper

Dr. Craig Wright, Ontier LLP client and Bitcoin creator, is the person behind the academic white paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Initially, Dr. Wright submitted his work under the now-famous nickname, Satoshi Nakamoto. The white paper was released back in October 2008 and it is currently accessible within Dr. Wright’s blog. With that in mind, his blog is not the only place where the white paper is available for download.

As it turns out, the academic white paper was also published online under the nickname “Cøbra” on a website called bitcoin.org. Currently, it is unknown what the real name behind the nickname on the website is. Upon realizing the white paper had been published on the site, Dr. Wright contacted Ontier, which, on his behalf, tried getting in touch with “Cøbra” to inform them about the copyright infringing of his paper. Furthermore, Ontier requested the website to remove the academic work. Cøbra never responded to those requests.

Initially, proceedings with the Intellectual Property List of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales were issued on February 24, 2021. Back in April, Dr. Wright was “granted permission to serve Cøbra out of the jurisdiction by email.” After that, in the period April 26 – May 18, “Cøbra” was eligible to acknowledge the service or defense to the proceedings. Since the defendant did not take relevant action until May 25, Dr. Wright applied to the High Court asking for judgment under r.12(3)(1) of the Civil Procedure Rules.

High Court Issues a Ruling on the Infringement Action

Now, this past Monday, in a remote ruling adhering with COVID-19 restrictions, London’s High Court ruled a default judgment in the infringement action against “Cøbra” filed by Dr. Wright. Honor Judge David Hodge QC heard Dr. Wright’s application and issued a ruling ordering the website to remove all references of the document for UK visitors.

Furthermore, “Cøbra” must also present a copy of the Court’s ruling on the website for six months. Last but not least, the Court ordered “Cøbra” to pay Dr. Wright’s legal costs and revealed that an inquiry related to damages caused by the infringement of Dr. Wright’s copyright in the UK will be launched.

This is an important development in Dr. Wright’s quest to obtain judicial vindication of his copyright in his White Paper.

Simon Cohen, Senior Associate, Ontier

In a statement, Simon Cohen, a member of the legal team that helped Dr. Wright and senior associate at Ontier, deemed Court ruling as an important development. Furthermore, he revealed that Dr. Wright doesn’t want to restrict access to the document, but disagrees with it being used “by supporters and developers of alternative assets, such as Bitcoin Core, to promote or otherwise misrepresent those assets as being Bitcoin.”

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