Close-Ups

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On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the $2.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the Act). At over five thousand pages, the Act is an amalgamation of numerous legislative measures, including further stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, as well as an omnibus spending bill. Below is a discussion of some of the tax provisions in the Act that may impact the entertainment industry.…
One of the oddities of 2020 is that a great many people in the entertainment and media industries became familiar with a complex form of securities offering: the SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company). Despite having the word “Company” in their name, SPACs are not really companies. Rather, they are piles of money looking for businesses to acquire. In 2020, over $60 billion was raised in the public equity markets by SPACs (more than four times…
The federal government’s latest spending bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (Act), included $284 billion of renewed funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and a newly established $15 billion grant program for “Shuttered Venue Operators” (described below). Congress also modified the PPP in numerous ways that should benefit businesses who receive PPP funding. Under the Act, the allowable uses for PPP funds that will be forgiven was broadened to include, among other expenses, costs associated…
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently dismissed all claims against the coupon database and news website Coupons in the News, reinforcing protections for online publications and associated photographs that are of legitimate public concern.  See Anderson v. Best Buy Stores, Case No: 5:20-cv-41-JSM-PRL (M.D. Fla. July. 28, 2020). The lawsuit arose over a disagreement about the use of expired coupons at a Best Buy store.  Courtney Anderson allegedly…
Keith Boykin, a New York Times best-selling author and one of TV’s leading commentators on politics, race, and sexual orientation, participated in Venable’s Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Program on December 3. Keith discussed his personal struggles in coming out as a gay man and his efforts to promote inclusivity and tolerance for gay men of color and other minority groups. When Keith Boykin finally worked up the courage to tell his mother that he was…
On December 11, 2020, Alan Epstein was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on the tax benefits at play in the sale of Bob Dylan’s songwriting catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group. According to the article, the price of the sale hasn’t been revealed but is said to be between $300 million and $400 million, making it the latest and largest of a spate of similar deals this year that come with significant tax benefits, both for…
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on commercial real property markets in much of the country, an ever-increasing demand for streaming content has caused existing studio space in Los Angeles and elsewhere to become even more valuable, and the demand for studio space continues to rise. In this Q & A, Venable partner Andrew Schmerzler discusses some of the long-term trends that have contributed to this increased demand, tech companies making a…
A leading voice on politics, race, and sexual orientation, Keith Boykin – a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton – will bring his unique insight to Venable’s Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Program on December 3. The discussion will center on Keith’s personal struggles in coming out as a gay man; his efforts to promote inclusivity and tolerance for other gay men of color; and the importance of minority groups moving away from the…
On November 17, 2020,  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti nominated William Briggs to serve on the city’s Board of Police Commissioners. “Our city is leading the movement to reimagine public safety, revitalize our commitment to racial justice and support our courageous police officers who keep our city safe. And I’m confident that William Briggs will bring an extraordinary record of leadership and commitment to the fight for fairness, equity, and a safer Los Angeles,” said…
As we pass eight months since COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, those in media, entertainment, and the arts continue to grapple with the virus’s impact on their business.  Companies in the broader media and entertainment industry have adjusted as best they can to life during the pandemic, offering everything from virtual concerts to new, quarantine-special shows.  Still, many in the industry have suffered dramatic losses…