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Does Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto have a case against Newsweek?

James Niccolai | March 20, 2014
Legal experts say it would be hard for Nakamoto to build a strong case.

Even if Nakamoto were to highlight the negative publicity Bitcoin has received — some have labeled it a scam, others an anonymous currency used widely by criminals — that "doesn't necessarily mean that the community would view him negatively," Krone said. "But a false light claim would only require a showing that the false attribution would be highly offensive to a reasonable person."

There are other aspects to the Newsweek profile that portray Nakamoto in a negative light. His youngest brother describes him as "an asshole" and says he has "weird hobbies," while his eldest daughter says he is "totally not a normal person."

But for those who think that laying Nakamoto's life bare for millions of readers, and publishing photos of him, his house, and his car and license plate, should itself be an offense, there is no such right to privacy under U.S. law.

"Victims of highly publicized crimes don't ask for coverage, yet news trucks sometimes park outside their houses with reporters seeking comment, and their pictures are placed on the front page of newspapers," Pyle noted. "This isn't actionable — it's reporting, subject to journalistic ethics and in some cases public criticism."

Whether Nakamoto will take legal action remains to be seen. It's entirely possible that his letter was simply a final attempt to deflect further attention.

"This will be our last public statement on this matter," the letter concludes. "I ask that you now respect our privacy."



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