Nov. 24, 2017
Sept. 12, 2017
Releases : I. Isolated Articles
Qualification is the key operation in Law.
For example, if one says what a bitcoin is, then one assigns to it the regime which corresponds to this "nature" that one has thus said;
One could say that the "token" that it constitutes corresponds to nothing of what it existed before. In this case, their creation, storage, management, sale, loan, purchase does not correspond to any particular category that pre-existed. They therefore come under what is called "the category unnamed".
It is then in a liberal system the vacuum of liberty that applies to it. In a system of liberty, it is contractual freedom, freedom which attaches to the property right, the articulation between the contract and the property being sufficient. Technology can establish such a qualification, because the risk inherent in a system of freedom is also borne by the blockchain mechanism. Indeed, by the spread of risk on the one hand, and the safety of machines on the other, there would be no need to worry, and the principle of freedom could give credence to the idea that the "token" would be a sui generis category.
But central banks and financial regulators are probably not convinced and prefer to qualify by bringing the "token" to a pre-existing category, which automatically triggers the legal regime. It is well known that the art of qualification consists in choosing from among the attainable qualifications the one which will allow the application of the regime which is the most adequate to satisfy the aim which one wishes to attain. In terms of regulation, governed entirely by goals, qualification is therefore primarily a matter of strategy.
Now, to affirm that the bitcoin is a sui generis object amounts to not regulating its emission, usages and intermediations, not to control those who make use of it. It amounts to taking away the merits of self-regulation.
This was excluded.
First of all by the Central Banks. Bitcoins and other tokens, based on the mechanical security of the blockchain, can be described as "money" when it is a matter of their acquisition to allow people to access other goods. The central bankers retained the qualification of "currency", which does not prohibit their issuance but which justifies the application of banking Regulation.
Then by the Financial Regulators. Indeed, the same tokens of securities and financial instruments can be described when they are issued by persons who issue them to raise funds, buyers bringing money not to acquire other things but in consideration of the future value of the undertaking which issued them. On July 25, 2017, the SEC therefore classified them as securities and applied all of the financial law in order to protect these investments and the capital markets.
Once again, we measure that the norm of the Regulation resides in these aims and that on the other hand its main tool is in the qualification of the various activities which are "new" only if the Regulator wants it
Sept. 11, 2017
The nature of virtual currency remains uncertain. In any case, the object is very attractive, in particular because its nature, presented as "new", implies that its handling is not regulated.
This allows, in particular for individuals or start up, to issue "tokens" to offer them in exchange of funds, by the "initial coin offerings (ICOs)" technic, tokens acquired by investors, without being banking institutions, or borrowing money , nor issuing capital securities.
Operators demand that this behavior be recognized in its novelty and be recognized as being governed only by the contract and the general principles of loyalty, commitment and information, because what it is not prohibited is permitted while what is not regulated is freely organized by the parties who consent to it.
As media report, the Banking Regulator of China, has just decided otherwise. It has decided that the fundraising by individuals or companies by means of virtual currency will now be banned.
The question is whether other Regulatory Authorities could do the same.
Sept. 7, 2017
Releases : 0. Books
General reference : Frison-Roche, M.-A. (ed.), Régulation, Supervision, Compliance (english translation: "Regulation, Supervision, Compliance"), Paris, collection "Régulations", Dalloz, 2017, to be published.
This collective book is published in French but summaries of every article are available in English
Book presentation in English :
Regulation. Supervision. Compliance.
Three terms almost unknown to legal systems. Or at least considered as peculiar to Anglo-American legal systems: Regulation, Supervision, Compliance. So many expressions that would constitute Trojan horses by which the Common Law and american mechanisms would seize the other legal traditions to better bend European companies, especially banks, appropriating institutions, imposing strange methods.
Three words by which the invasion is carried out. Through the violence of repression and penalties of compliance, by the mildness of codes of conduct and corporate social responsibility. By laws as new as strange such as in France the law known as "Sapin 2" or the law instituting a "duty of vigilance" to companies whose failure would be to have successfully deployed internationally their activities.
One can have this defensive conception of Compliance, generating a "Compliance Law", produced by internalization in global economic operators of the Regulation Law, which are then subject to Supervision by Regulators, even though these firms are not regulated, as the Compliance does extend beyond supervised sectors (banks and insurance companies).
We can (and maybe must) have a more welcoming, and therefore more offensive, concept of Compliance. This can be the crucible of a relationship of supra-national Trust between these operators and regulators, the former being able to contribute as the latter to serving goals that all exceed them and whose fight against corruption and money laundering are only examples.
In this way, the issue is the construction of the European Compliance Law.
Voir la présentation du cycle de conférences sur lesquelles s'est construit l'ouvrage.
Sept. 6, 2017
Regulation of the digital world, we agree on its necessity, we talk about it a lot but it is difficult to do it.
The stakes are multiple: management of innovation, protection of people, treatment of different sorts of powers, future of the human being, the Politics and the Judge being like a bullet that ricochets between these 4 subjects.
It then rediscovers that the first "regulators" are the Governments and that the first modality of the Regulation Law is the taxation.
Notably in the digital field and even more so in the face of GAFA.
Indeed, the 4 American companies, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, admit the need for rules but propose self-regulation or co-regulation. These would include not only their own behavior, but also those of others, including the fight against terrorism. Maybe, when one is stronger than the States, he should substitute himself for their core business....
Undoubtedly being dispossessed of the regalian, Europe today demands "accounts" to the GAFA in the literal sense of the term. Indeed, the French and German governments will table in September a tax proposal specific to the GAFA, the fruit of which will come back to the countries where they earn their income.
Concerned companies replied that in the tax system everyone has the right to be skilled and to organize at the best, so long as one does not fall into the abuse. In accordance with this legal conception, the French administrative high Court (Conseil d’État) has just recalled it in an important decision to their benefit.
In August 2017, the French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Lemaire, justified the reiteration of his will to tax them, raising this issue at European level in the name of "distributive justice", the Law being defined as what gives everyone his share. This is a strong but dangerous argument, for while it is true that in the very function of taxation, correlated with public finances, the redistributive function is essential, tax optimization becomes staggering.
In a more convincing and regulatory way, this measure of equity is presented as correlated to the construction of the European digital market. It is an economic conception. To the extent that European taxation is still embryonic, its link with such a construction would make it possible to see in vivo the strength of the tax tool in Regulation Law, more than ever distant from Competition Law.
It is in this context, and because the European Digital Market must be built at forceps, since the GAFA will benefit from it, but also must participate in its construction, that such an investment sharing is justified.
Sept. 5, 2017
The Olympic Committee has just taken a stand: "sports competition" video games are contrary to the "Olympic values", because of their violence.
Can we do anything else? More or something else?
The case is a gap. Indeed, sports activities are regulated in the most traditional way, by administrative texts, administrative supervision, delegations, judicial control. There are rules, both legal and ethical. The most sophisticated rules have been developed, notably on "permissible violence" and that which is not, for example in the field of boxing or rugby, through the notion of "rules of the game".
Video games are at first sight quite different.
They are regulated by other bodies of rules and other regulators, such as the Regulatory Authority for Online Games, when they are played in the digital space.
But the Regulator of online games does not at first sight have competence to apply the "rules of the game" in the perspective of what sport is and the particular integration of the distinction between permissible violence and inadmissible violence.
Assuming that it extends its competence to that dimension, the fact that the blows carried are only "virtually" should necessarily modify the contour and the application of the rules, transforming this regulator of games into a regulator of sports.
Conversely, assuming that the sports regulators are concerned, it is necessary that the analogy between "game" and "sport" should be strong enough for the extension to take place legitimately.
The criterion that poses the problem is precisely le notion of "violence".
Read more below.
Sept. 4, 2017
The Internet has created an area of freedom, even libertarian space.
The flood of words is sometimes hateful. Never mind. This would be the price of freedom: it corresponds to the project of those who conceived the Internet, the places of expression and creation, even the worst, and the political and legal culture of the United States, a system in which the freedom of expression has constitutional value.
This in particular allows for the development of ideas spreading so-called "neo-Nazi" thinking, as the Stormfront site has been doing for years.
On August 25, 2017, the private company, Network Solutions that hosts the site and provides it with the domain name terminated hosting and deleted the domain name.
The host also banned the web master from rebuilding the site or transferring it in any way.
This case gives rise to a debate on the rise of extremists in the United States on the one hand and the limit of freedom of expression on the other.
What is here to be noted is the power of a web host in the matter.
The manager who made the decision found it necessary to justify himself, as a Regulatory Authority would have done, giving grounds for a sanction decision, even though he can avail himself of the general conditions of use that are accepted by the entities that create and operate the sites.
Read more below.
Sept. 1, 2017