Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed creator of bitcoin, has filed registrations with the U.S. Copyright Office supporting his claims of authorship over the original bitcoin code and the Satoshi white paper.
A press release sent to CoinDesk states:
“In the future, Wright intends to assign the copyright registrations to Bitcoin Association to hold for the benefit of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Bitcoin Association is a global industry organization for Bitcoin businesses. It supports BSV and owns the Bitcoin SV client software.”
Founding President Jimmy Nguyen commented in the release:
“We are thrilled to see Craig Wright recognized as author of the landmark Bitcoin white paper and early code. Better than anyone else, Craig understands that Bitcoin was created be a massively scaled blockchain to power the world’s electronic cash for billions of people to use, and be the global data ledger for the biggest enterprise applications. We look forward to working with Craig and others to ensure his original vision is recognized as Bitcoin and is realized through BSV.”
To be clear, registration does not imply ownership nor is this an official patent. The copyright process allows anyone to register anything in an effort to prepare, say, for lawsuits associated to ownership.
Computer code and white papers can be copyrighted insofar as they are considered literary works and, as the copyright office writes: “In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.”
In other words you, the reader, could register this post and I would have to fight you in court to contest it.
Jerry Brito, executive director at advocacy group Coin Center, tweeted:
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. https://t.co/YA70ALpG1Y
— Jerry Brito (@jerrybrito) May 21, 2019
“People register things for a reason. They want to exploit it and they want the credit for it,” said David H. Faux, Esq., an intellectual property attorney in New York City. “Someone dishonest would register the Bitcoin white paper to put it on his website and get speaking engagements. But at some point it would catch up with him.”
“The market takes care of itself,” said Faux.
When asked for comment noted Wright critic Jameson Lopp said “LOL.”
CoinDesk has contacted Wright’s representatives and the Copyright Office for further comment.
UPDATE – Wright wrote:
“BTC is not bitcoin. Bitcoin is set in stone and does not change. Where there is a protocol change, there is developer control which is the exact opposite of what bitcoin is about. BTC is passing off as Bitcoin. It is an air drop copy that has been designed to slowly alter the protocol allowing the system to be anonymized to such an extent that criminal activity can happen. The goal is to create a system that allows people to commit crimes, extort money, have automated ransomware and worse. This is not the goal of Bitcoin.”
Craig Wright image via CoinDesk archives