Welcome back to another Top 10 in Law Blogs! This week Sheppard Mullin dives into the first major blockchain-based art auction, Jill Mahoney looks back at the results of the proposed soda tax bans in Oregon and Washington, and Simon Jones explores how the UK may be adapting the law for automotive automation. Have a happy and healthy weekend!

A new challenge in the mix: Hotel developments to provide affordable housing? – By Hannah Quarterman and Janan Kanagaratnam: It is no secret that this is a challenging time for the hotel industry in London with peak prices, a shortage of viable sites, uncertainty over labour and rising costs and taxes. Notwithstanding, one London Borough has decided that hotels should also be doing their bit to address the housing crisis. In its draft City Plan, published on 12 November, Westminster City Council has proposed affordable housing requirements for many hotels in the Central Activities Zone. View Full Post

Employing Workers with Student Debt? Bipartisan Bill Could Help – By Bayardo Alemán: $1.5 Trillion-that is with a T.  That is the amount of student debt currently owed by more than 40 million Americans, about 70% of whom are college graduates.  One in ten borrowers are at least 90 days delinquent on their loans.  No wonder economists and others believe it may be the next big bubble to burst. View Full Post

The Hammer Falls on the First Major Blockchain-based Art Auction – By Sheppard Mullin: Christie’s made history again last night during its evening sale, An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, at 20 Rockefeller Center in New York. This time, the history was not in the form of a record-setting sale (though the sale brought in $317.8 million), but as the first major art auction to be recorded by distributed ledger technology. Christie’s teamed with Artory, a company that operates an art-focused, blockchain-based registry, to securely register and track the provenance of over 90 artworks that were offered in the sale. View Full Post

Post-Election, Oregon and Washington’s Proposed Soda Tax Bans Reach Different Results – By Jill Mahoney: As previously reported on this blog, Oregon and Washington state residents headed to the polls on November 6, 2018 to vote on initiatives that would preemptively ban new soda and food taxes. Despite similarities in terms of context and likelihood to succeed, the two initiatives came to very different results. View Full Post

Commission Proposes to Ease Wireless Handset Hearing Aid Compatibility Reporting Obligations – By Joshua Guyan and Avonne Bell: At its November 15 Open Meeting, the FCC intends to vote on a Report and Order (“Order”) to make some important changes to the requirements for wireless service providers to report on the number of hearing aid compatible (“HAC”) handsets they offer. The dual aims of the rule changes are to ease the burden of the reporting obligations while improving consumer access to information about HAC wireless handsets. View Full Post

GDPR 6 Months After Implementation: Where are We Now? – By Amy C. Pimentel and Mark E. Schreiber: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was the biggest story of 2018 in the field of global privacy and data protection. The GDPR became enforceable in European Union Member States on May 25, 2018, significantly expanding the territorial reach of EU data protection law and introducing numerous changes that affected the way organizations globally process the personal data of their EU customers, employees and suppliers. View Full Post

Adapting the law for automotive automation – By Simon Jones: The Law Commission of England, together with the Scottish Law Commission, last week announced a consultation into the laws around the self-driving vehicles, as they help prepare for a ‘safe and effective deployment’ of such vehicles in the UK. The consultation, which is part of a three year review (running until March 2021) looks at the laws around automated road vehicles which are capable of driving themselves and considers a number of issues which may impact developers’, manufacturers’ and future users’ responsibilities. View Full Post

Colorado and North Dakota Announce ICO Enforcement Actions – By Scott H. Kimpel: State and provincial securities regulators across the US and Canada have been actively policing the marketplace for ICOs and security token offerings, supplementing efforts at the federal level undertaken by the SEC. Colorado and North Dakota are among the latest states to announce enforcement actions in the crypto space. View Full Post

New Apple Watch May Mark Time To Rethink HIPAA – By Elizabeth Litten: The new Apple Watch Series 4® is one of the more recent and sophisticated consumer health engagement tools. It includes a sensor that lets wearers take an electrocardiogram (ECG) reading and detect irregular heart rhythms. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved these functions as Class II medical devices, which generally means that they have a high to moderate risk to the user. View Full Post

A Veterans Day Catch Up on the CFPB’s Surrender of Military Lending Act Supervision – By Jodie Herrmann Lawson, Joseph J. Reilly and Drew Austria: In light of Veterans Day, there are some recent notable developments regarding the Military Lending Act (MLA) worth discussing. Enacted in 2006, the MLA caps the annual interest rate for an extension of consumer credit to a servicemember and/or their dependents at thirty six percent, among other protections. View Full Post

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