In brief

  • Craig Wright's lawyers have accused websites bitcoin.org and bitcoincore.org of copyright infringement.
  • The self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator claims that he owns both the Bitcoin whitepaper and the domain name bitcoin.org, their letter argued.
  • Bitcoin.org's administrator refuted the claims as "false allegations."

The lawyers of self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright have demanded that websites bitcoin.org and bitcoincore.org remove Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper from their platforms, alleging that it violates copyright laws.

In response, Bitcoin.org’s pseudonymous owner Cobra has refused to do so, arguing that the Bitcoin whitepaper was published under the MIT license, allowing for free distribution. He also denies other claims made against him, such as that Wright owns the Bitcoin.org website.

“We believe there is no doubt we have the legal right to host the Bitcoin whitepaper. Furthermore, Satoshi Nakamoto has a known PGP public key, therefore it is cryptographically possible for someone to verify themselves to be Satoshi Nakamoto. Unfortunately, Craig has been unable to do this,” Cobra stated.

Claiming copyright on the Bitcoin whitepaper

The law firm Ontier argued that Wright published the Bitcoin whitepaper as “Satoshi Nakamoto” on October 31, 2008, but since his identity was revealed in 2016, he publicly “revealed” (or rather claimed) that he is the document’s author.

In May 2019, Wright registered a copyright claim to the whitepaper with the US Copyright Office. However, anyone can register any claim to copyright in this way and there are other people with the same claims to the whitepaper.

"Dr Wright has decided that it is time to enforce his copyright in the White Paper,” wrote law firm Ontier in its letter addressed (and sent via Twitter) to Cobra.

The lawyers noted that the whitepaper is currently available for download to the public in the UK and throughout the world, and argued that the domain name “bitcoin.org” is owned by Wright—and therefore that this infringes his copyright.

In his response, Cobra called the lawyer’s claims false, denying that Wright had any claim to the website.

However, he noted that Bitcoin Core developers, “unfortunately,” already tried to remove the whitepaper from their website, giving the claims undeserved credence.

“Unfortunately, without consulting us, Bitcoin Core developers scrambled to remove the Bitcoin whitepaper from bitcoincore.org, in response to these allegations of copyright infringement, lending credence to these false claims,” said the letter, adding, “This surrender will no doubt be weaponized to make new false claims, like that the Bitcoin Core developers ‘know’ CSW to be Satoshi Nakamoto and this is why they acted in this way.”

Cobra claimed that Bitcoin Core developers also “lent ammunition to Bitcoin’s enemies, engaged in self-censorship, and compromised its integrity.”