The US Copyright Office has confirmed that Craig Wright’s copyright registration applications received “special handling” – but what does that really mean?
Unless you were hiding under a rock yesterday, you have no doubt heard by now that Craig Wright filed – and received approval on – copyright registrations for both the Bitcoin whitepaper and source code.
Since then, the US Copyright Office (USCO) has weighed in not once, but twice, on the matter.
In its latest update, a copy of which was received by Micky via email, the USCO states that Wright had requested an optional service called “special handling”.
For a fee of $800, an applicant can request this service which, if granted, expedites the approval process.
“Under special handling procedures, the Office ‘will make every attempt to examine the application or the document within five working days thereafter,” the USCO explains.
What this means for Wright’s claims
Does this mean that Wright is correct and that the US government is acknowledging his claims?
Not even close.
Wright and his supporters are going to swear up and down that “special handling” means that someone in the USCO investigated and vetted his claims – the update says that the agency did “examine the application” after all – but the truth is that it doesn’t.
In Chapter 600, Section 623.3 of the USOC’s Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices (3rd ed.) titled “Examination Guidelines: Special Handling,” it states:
“The U.S. Copyright Office will apply the same practices and procedures when examining a claim to copyright or a document pertaining to copyright, regardless of whether the applicant asks for special handling.”
If you pay careful attention to the highlighted portions of the statement, you’ll see that the USCO doesn’t do any more due diligence for “special handling” applications than it would for any other application.
Just like regular applications, the USCO does not verify that the claims made are truthful.
The only difference is that Wright paid extra for the privilege of having it pushed through the process quicker.
So why did he do it?
That is the $800 question.
There might be a clue in the USOC’s explanation of circumstances where “special handling” requests might be approved.
In Chapter 6, section 623.2 of previously referenced Compendium, it notes that the USCO will grant requests for special handling under the following circumstances:
- Pending or prospective litigation
- Customs matters
- Contract or publishing deadlines that necessitate the expedited issuance of a certificate
Wright is already embroiled in a lawsuit brought against him in Florida by the estate of his late former business partner, David Kleiman, and he has threatened lawsuits against several people for what he claims is libel.
In a blog post published last month, Wright warned his detractors, “I am the person behind the moniker Satoshi Nakamoto, and as a result of all the trolls and haters, I’m going to provide evidence. Not in a way that anonymous cowards would do. I’m going to use courts and law.”
Maybe – and this is just my opinion – he thinks that these copyright claims will bolster his chances in court of convincing some non-crypto-savvy judge that he is Satoshi Nakamoto and the original creator of Bitcoin.
There is also speculation that Wright intends to file copyright infringement lawsuits against various Bitcoin Cash and other Bitcoin forks and filed his copyright applications as a preemptive measure.