Cøbra cannot challenge Craig Wright’s entitlement to costs without revealing his identity, judge rules
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The English court has prohibited Cøbra from making claims about the costs of dr. In a copyright claim brought against him by Craig Wright, unless he first identifies himself in court in response to what the judge called an “unprecedented” situation.
In fact, the verdict is the result of very unusual facts. Cøbra, the pseudonymous administrator of the Bitcoin.org website, which Dr. Wright successfully sued for copyright infringement over his hosting of Wright’s Bitcoin White Paper, attempted to sue Dr. Wright for legal costs – without declaring himself to the court. In response, Dr. Wright filed an application for an order that he should not be allowed to make representations to the court unless Cøbra identified himself.
Assuming that Cøbra does not appeal (which he cannot do without his identity), Dr. Wright can now claim reimbursement for all of his legal costs without input from the defendant or a detailed assessment by the court. Prior to this latest order, Dr Wright claimed costs of £574,857.42 plus interest.
Simon Cohen, CEO of ONTIER LLP, said in a statement:
“We welcome this important decision by the English court, which reaffirms the sanctity of our open justice system. While there are some limited circumstances in which a party can be made anonymous to the public, there are no circumstances in which a party can participate in proceedings while remaining anonymous before the court.”
Cøbra will do anything to oppose Satoshi – except face the music
Cøbra’s refusal to identify himself was a theme in Dr. Wright’s victory, largely thanks to Cøbra himself. When he first heard from Dr. Wright’s lawyers that he was asking him to stop the copyright infringement by taking down the paper, Cøbra tried to gain public support by saying that he was willing to martyr his anonymity if it was necessary “to defend Satoshi’s publication”.
You’re wrong if you think you can bully me, you creepy loser. If I have to give up my pseudonym to defend Satoshi’s white paper, arguably the most important paper of the 21st century, then so be it. https://t.co/YpqXlD8DlP
– Cobra (@CobraBitcoin) April 22, 2021
The blast turned out to be hollow, and Cøbra refused to appear in court to challenge the case. Dr. Wright received a full sentence as a result. Cøbra was forced to remove the white paper and host a notice on the bitcoin.org website informing visitors of the ruling.
I don’t. I didn’t show up because defending against nonsense is a waste of time.
Aren’t you happy? You finally got a “win”. You all should be celebrating, but instead you seem annoying.
– Cobra (@CobraBitcoin) May 18, 2021
After Dr. Wright won, all that remained was whether Cøbra should pay Dr. Wright’s expenses and, if so, how much. It was at this point that Cøbra decided that he wanted to participate, appointed a lawyer specializing in costs and notified the court of disputes.
Shamani Kapoor, arguing for Dr Wright on behalf of ONTIER LLP, argued that it is fundamental that a party to a proceeding must identify itself if it wishes to be a party to that proceeding and that the position was no different than it was. during the substantive part of the trial: Cøbra may not make statements anonymously. One of the concerns was the potential money laundering risks associated with receiving payments from a completely anonymous entity.
Cøbra’s lawyers, on the other hand, characterized the order requested by Dr. Wright as a “draconian order that prevents the defendant from hearing”. They argued that there is nothing in the UK Civil Procedure Rules that obliges a party to identify itself in disputed matters.
When presenting their arguments, neither side found a precedent in which an unidentified party to the proceedings had actively participated in them. Cases involving an unknown party are typically of a criminal nature, in which case the unknown person does not participate in the proceedings in any way. However, here was a unique situation where Cøbra threw in the towel during the most important part of the proceedings and then returned at the eleventh hour to dispute the costs claimed by Dr Wright.
The judge agreed with Dr Wright:
“I think it is clear that the litigant is expected to identify himself when he is actively involved in the proceedings for the first time. This requirement is clear from the rules on filing and responding to a claim.
Without such identification, the judge held that the party concerned could not be said to have submitted to the court’s jurisdiction:
“In the absence of this information, the court cannot, for example, impose sanctions on the defendant in the various ways prescribed in the rules.”
The judge granted Cøbra permission to appeal the decision, but admitted that an appeal is unlikely, as that would also require Cøbra’s identity.
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