Pursuant to the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act (the “Economic Aid Act”), on January 11, 2021 the latest round of Paycheck Protection Program Loans rolled out, with priority being given by the Small Business Administration via Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, Certified Development Companies and Microloan Intermediaries (“Priority Lenders”), to their customers that did not receive a funding under the original Paycheck Protection Program. On January 13, 2021, the program will expand to the Priority Lenders and the customers seeking a second loan under the Economic Aid Act. The programs will be opened to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. The Paycheck Protection Program, which was originally established under the CARES Act, provides loans to eligible borrowers to pay payroll costs, including benefits during the covered period as set forth in the regulations. Funds may also be used to pay other certain specified expenses of the business.

Continue Reading The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act Provides Round Three of PPP Loans

On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments to the rules under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 relating to advertisements. A copy of the adopting release is available here. This alert is to provide you with a high-level overview of the amendments and the new rule. Firms will have roughly 18 months to get into compliance with the new rules and we will be available to assist them with (i) updating their policies and procedures to comply with the new marketing rules, (ii) reviewing any collateral advertisements, (iii) assisting them with reviewing their solicitation arrangements, and (iv) addressing any questions they may have relating to testimonials, endorsements, third-party ratings, recordkeeping, or their Form ADV.

Continue Reading SEC Amends Advertising and Solicitation Rules: Numerous changes to start digesting and implementing.

President Trump issued an Executive Order (the “Order”) on November 12, 2020 prohibiting “U.S. persons” from trading in securities, both in the U.S. and abroad, that finance Communist Chinese military companies (generally defined as companies owned or controlled by Chinese military or government services and supporting military services, manufacturing or production). There were about 30 companies initially identified by the U.S. government, but the list is fluid and is likely to expand over time. “U.S. person” is broadly defined as “any United Citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.” Thus, the Order impacts both RIAs and individual investors.

Continue Reading U.S. Set to Bar Investments in Communist Chinese Military Companies

Shape of Water, the winner of Best Picture, Best Director, and other Oscars, captivating audiences around the world, has come under fire for plagiarism. The 2017 film has been accused of borrowing heavily from a 1969 play called Let Me Hear You Whisper. The infringement claims were originally dismissed by the district court based on finding the two works shared merely a “basic premise” and “minor similarities.” Zindel v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., No. CV 18-1435 PA, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123872 (C.D. Cal. July 23, 2018). On appeal, however, the Ninth Circuit reversed noting the district court judge was too quick to dismiss the case – reasonable minds could differ on whether the two works are substantially similar. Zindel v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., No. 18-56087, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 19444 (9th Cir. June 22, 2020).

Continue Reading The Oscar-Winning Film Shape of Water Must Defend Copyright Infringement Claims From Playwright

In 2017, a New Orleans Jazz Musician, Paul Batiste’s (“Batiste”), sued the world-renowned duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (“Macklemore”) alleging the duo copied eleven of his songs. Batiste v. Lewis, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69130, 2019 WL 1790454 (E.D. La., Apr. 23, 2019). Batiste claimed Macklemore had, without permission, digitally sampled Batiste’s songs, and as a result, Macklemore’s hits, “Can’t Hold Us,” “Thrift Shop,” “Neon Cathedral,” “Same Love,” and “Need to Know” were based on or derivatives of Batiste’s copyrighted musical works. The district court disagreed after finding Batiste failed to sufficiently prove Macklemore had “access” to Batiste’s music and that Macklemore’s songs were strikingly similar to Batiste’s. Additionally, the district court held Batiste liable to pay Macklemore’s attorney fees pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505.

Continue Reading Can’t Hold Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Liable for Copyright Infringement Says Fifth Circuit

On November 25, 2020, I asked the ominous question: “Can I require my employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19?” In that article, I first addressed the pivotal, threshold issue of whether a vaccination constituted a “medical examination” or health screening under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as whether a private employer can implement a mandatory vaccination policy turns largely on this issue. However, I also expressed “it is difficult to predict precisely how current jurisprudence on mandatory vaccine rules and policies will translate to the COVID-19 workplace” given the scale and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue Reading EEOC Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations: What Now for Employers?

On December 21st, 2020, Congress approved the second-largest federal stimulus package after the $2 trillion CARES Act that was passed in March 2020. This new COVID-relief package is in the amount of $900 billion, and will ensure that the public has a faster vaccine distribution, and will give aid to those who have lost their jobs and to small businesses that have been extremely affected by the pandemic. With this in mind, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has reopened for small businesses as well. Since applications for the first PPP program were only being accepted until August 2020, this second round of loans from the COVID-relief package could possibly save thousands of businesses across the country. For the full text of the new bill, click here.

Continue Reading Finally Positive News for Nonprofits: $900 Billion COVID-Relief Package Has Been Approved by Congress

Notoriously litigious, Louis Vuitton Malletier (“Louis Vuitton”) aggressively polices unauthorized use of its famous marks, logos, and protected designs, especially in the digital age when selling counterfeit goods is as easy as setting up a website.

Continue Reading Providers of Web Hosting Services Liable for Contributory Infringement of Louis Vuitton’s Trademarks and Copyrights

In 2012, BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC applied for registration of the trademark BLUE IVY CARTER with the consent of Blue Ivy, daughter of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter and Shawn Corey Carter (Jay-Z), but was met with opposition from the owner of the mark BLUE IVY for event planning. In dismissing the opposition, the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) rejected the Opposer’s claims of likelihood of confusion, lack of bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce, and fraud. Morales v. BGK Trademark Holdings LLC, Opposition No. 91234467 (T.T.A.B. 2020). Continue Reading Beyoncé Fends off Challenge to Daughter’s “Blue Ivy Carter” Mark From Owner of Event Planning “Blue Ivy” Mark