Merry Christmas! Business Benefits in the 2021 Appropriations Act

The U.S. Congress passed the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (the “Act”) on Monday that, in addition to funding the federal government for another fiscal year, provides $900 billion in COVID-19 relief, including $325 billion for small business owners and $15 billion for entertainment services providers. In addition, Congress made significant changes to the Copyright Act and the Lanham Trademark Act.

CARES Act Expansion

COVID-19 relief in the Act includes stimulus payments, rental assistance, and extended unemployment benefits to individuals, and a welcome surprise for business owners: $325 billion in aid for struggling small businesses, including:

  • Making business expenses paid with forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP") loans tax deductible (clarifying Congress’s intent under the CARES Act);
  • Extending the CARES Act’s employee retention tax credit and several expiring tax provisions
  • Adding funding to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs;
  • Dedicating $15 billion in loans and grants for strained entertainment and arts venues; and
  • Setting aside $12 billion in aid for businesses in low-income and minority communities.
  • Generating $50 billion in infrastructure spending, including transportation projects, road improvement, and broadband expansion.

The new round of PPP funding has several important differences compared to the PPP provisions of the CARES Act. PPP loans will be available to first-time qualified borrowers including businesses that previously received a PPP loan. Previous PPP recipients may apply for another loan of up to $2 million, provided they have 300 or fewer employees, have used the full amount of their first PPP loan, and can show a 25% gross revenue decline in any 2020 quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019. Borrowers who returned all or part of a previous PPP loan may reapply for second-round PPP funding. The Act also permits certain borrowers who were not eligible for the first round of PPP loans to qualify, including:

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit entities, including churches and religious organizations;
  • 501(c)(6) nonprofit entities such as Chambers of Commerce and other business leagues:
  • Businesses with 500 or fewer employees;
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals; and
  • Accommodation and food services operations with fewer than 300 employees per physical location.

COVID-19 Relief for Entertainers and Venues

Congress included the Save Our Stages Act (“SOS”) along with the appropriations bill. SOS makes grants available to entertainment venues and live entertainment workers who have been sidelined during the protracted pandemic. In addition, many musicians, artists and performers who are self-employed will now qualify for PPP forgivable loans.


In addition, Congress tacked onto the Act two new laws that modify the Copyright Act in significant ways. The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (“CASE") Act creates a small-claims adjudication system within the U.S. Copyright Office, and the Protect Lawful Streaming Act (“PLSA") will make illegal streaming for commercial profit a felony.

The CASE Act provides an alternative administrative process for authors and artists who seek to stop infringement of their works but cannot afford an expensive and protracted lawsuit to do so.

The PLSA closes a legal loophole that allowed copyright infringers to profit from others’ work. The PLSA creates criminal penalties for illegal streaming that are in line with illegal downloading of music and bootleg distribution of movies, and requiring live streaming sites and/or their users would to obtain licenses to stream video games and other content.

If you have questions on how the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act affects you and your business, call us at 407-792-0790.

Meehle & Jay and Suzanne have been our counsel for Echo Interaction Group since the inception of our company. Her guidance has gone above and beyond the typical small tech business attorney and she's become a trusted advisor to our firm. Her knowledge of small business legal needs and specifically in the technology and startup world have been crucial to the growth of our company.

Carlos Carbonell, CEO, Echo Interaction Group

I couldn't be happier with my decision to hire Meehle & Jay as our entertainment attorneys!  When you deal with a lot of people, it's critical for a business to have all of their i's dotted and their t's crossed, and it's huge relief to know that Meehle & Jay is doing that for us.

Rob Henlon, Fierce Entertainment 

I use Meehle & Jay to represent my Event Planning Business and they are nothing short of phenomenal. Not only do I get email reminders to make sure I am staying on top of my legal priorities, the professional advice they have offered me, in conjunction with their legal expertise, makes me feel confident that I can do business competitively while still having my assets and reputation protected.  A class act all the way around.

Michelle Widmer, Founder & Director of Events, The Empress Table

Davey Jay handles all our company's copyrights. Excellent knowledge and response time, highly recommend this firm.

Rodney E. Luke, President, Luke Brothers Custom Homes

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