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Category Archives: Regulatory

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SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s Remarks on ICOs

In his remarks at a recent Practicing Law Institute program on securities regulation, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton once again addressed Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs.  Mr. Clayton highlighted several issues in particular, including that in his view there is a lack of information about many online platforms that list and trade virtual … Continue Reading

SEC on Initial Coin Offerings: Tokens May Be Securities

No blockchain phenomenon has garnered more attention lately than Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), which have exploded in value and raised more than $1.2 billion thus far this year. In a typical ICO, a blockchain-based product or service provider offers proprietary digital assets (“tokens”) – rather than traditional forms of debt or equity – in exchange … Continue Reading

U.S. Copyright Office Rolls Out New Electronic DMCA Agent Designation System

A service provider seeking to take advantage of certain of the safe harbors under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is required to designate an agent to receive takedown notices. The service provider is required to post the DMCA agent’s contact information on its website and to provide such information to the Copyright Office. On … Continue Reading

FCC Media Bureau Clarifies Broadcasters’ Negotiation Remedies

Negotiations between television channels/networks and pay TV operators are a breed apart.  The stakes are high and the consequence of failure – a “dark” screen – is all too public. But the critical factor that sets these negotiations apart is the actual regulation of the negotiations under three main categories of rules. Broadcasters may invoke … Continue Reading

Of “Lunch Stands and Merry-Go-Rounds”: Ninth Circuit’s Rejection of FTC Authority Over “Throttling” Could Have Far Reaching Implications for Cable and Other Broadband Providers

On August 29th, a Ninth Circuit panel unanimously held that the FTC has no power to challenge “throttling” of unlimited data plan customers by mobile broadband providers as an “unfair or deceptive act.”  The panel found that a core source of FTC authority (Section 5 of the FTC Act) does not apply to any “common … Continue Reading

FTC Releases Big Data Report Outlining Risks, Benefits and Legal Hurdles

The big data revolution is quietly chugging along:  devices, sensors, websites and networks are collecting and producing significant amounts of data, the cost of data storage continues to plummet, public and private sector interest in data mining is growing, data computational and statistical methods have advanced, and more and more data scientists are using new … Continue Reading

FTC Issues Enforcement Policy Statement on Native Advertising in New Media

Digital media marketers are aggressively increasing the use of so-called sponsored content, or native advertising to reach new customers.  Particularly with the growing use of ad blockers on web and mobile browsers, marketers have sought to present advertising in a new form that can circumvent automated blocking and somehow capture the attention of users who … Continue Reading

New York Releases Final BitLicense Rules

Readers of this blog will know that we have been following the recent legal developments relating to bitcoin and other virtual currency systems [also here and here].  Yesterday, in a significant development reflecting the general maturation of virtual currencies as a recognized payment system, Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of the New York State Dept. of Financial … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Net Neutrality Rules, Reclassifies Broadband Access under Title II

After nearly 4 million public comments, and months of vigorous public, industry, and Congressional debate, the FCC, by a 3-2 vote, approved revised net neutrality rules to “protect the Open Internet.”  As expected by the Chairman’s statements in the lead-up to the vote, the FCC’s Open Internet Order reclassifies broadband internet access as a “telecommunications … Continue Reading

FinCEN Releases Two Rulings Classifying a Bitcoin Payment System and Virtual Currency Trading Platform as MSBs

In its opening salvo bringing bitcoin under the watchful eye of the federal government, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a Guidance (FIN-2013-G001) in March 2013 clarifying that anti-money laundering regulations concerning record keeping and recording apply to digital currency exchanges.  Under this initial guidance, a bitcoin exchange that allows users to buy bitcoin … Continue Reading

Proposed “Bitlicense” Regulations Published to the New York Register

Today’s New York State Register includes a Notice of Proposed Rule Making from the New York State Department of Financial Services (the “NYSDFS”) regarding the regulation of virtual currency (“Regulation of the Conduct of Virtual Currency Businesses,” No. DFS-29-14-00015-P).  The proposed rule calls for the creation of the “bitlicense” which the NYSDFS has hinted at … Continue Reading

FINRA Issues Investor Alert Concerning Bitcoin Trading and Speculation

Bitcoin remains fixed on the front pages of the business and technology news for both the salacious and the positive. Much attention has been paid to the collapse of the former top bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, stemming from the purported theft of nearly $500 million in bitcoins.  The temporary suspension of trading in the securities … Continue Reading
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