On July 20, a British court made a groundbreaking decision by granting Craig Wright, a man who has claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin since 2016, the right to argue in litigation over the potential copyright protection for the Bitcoin file format.
Wright has pursued a lawsuit against 13 Bitcoin Core developers and various companies, such as Blockstream, Coinbase and Block. The case alleges violations of his copyright to the Bitcoin white paper, its file format, and the database rights to the Bitcoin blockchain.
A Case Reopened: Implications and Concerns
The permission to appeal breathes new life into the case, effectively reopening the contentious discussion. "The Claimants may consider themselves unlucky to have had their application for leave to serve out come before a Judge with at least some understanding of the technology involved here," a decision from February read, initially refusing the appeal.
On the day of the recent court decision, Wright took to Twitter without explicitly mentioning the ruling: "The legal protection of intellectual property is necessary to ensure the rights of creators and innovators and to encourage the production of new ideas, inventions, and creative works." The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund (BLDF) expressed their perspective on Wright's claim to the Bitcoin inventor title, stating, "Wright has claimed to be Satoshi since at least 2016 without providing a shred of evidence to back up this claim." The BLDF added that Wright must prove he is Satoshi Nakamoto before the courts can deliberate on the three primary claims presented in the lawsuit.
This highly anticipated case is expected to reach trial in early 2024.
A Dangerous Precedent: Open Source Software Under Threat?
The BLDF voiced grave concerns over the implications of this recent development, indicating that it doesn't only affect the crypto community but holds ramifications for the entire world.
Their statement emphasised, "It sets a dangerous precedent where developers can be sued for violating the file format of open source software that someone else claims to have created."
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