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:
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:
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.
CASE Act and PLSA
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.
Carlos Carbonell, CEO, Echo Interaction Group
Rob Henlon, Fierce Entertainment
Michelle Widmer, Founder & Director of Events, The Empress Table
Rodney E. Luke, President, Luke Brothers Custom Homes