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April 4, 2020

Week in Review - Week ending 3-22

By Chantelle A. Gyamfi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below,for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News, including coronavirus information:


Katy Perry Escapes "Dark Horse" Verdict

Last July, a federal jury stunned the music industry by finding that Katy Perry's hit "Dark Horse" had infringed on the copyright of a Christian rap song, and the jury later ordered the pop star's team to pay $2.8 million in damages. This week, the judge in that case made an equally surprising move by vacating the jury's decision, which means that Perry and her collaborators -- including her longtime producer Dr. Luke -- are not liable for infringement, and therefore do not have to pay damages.



Court Holds That "Inside Out" Did Not Infringe TV Pilot

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed a district court's dismissal of the plaintiff's action alleging copyright infringement by the Disney movie "Inside Out" of the plaintiffs' characters called "The Moodsters". After the plaintiff developed The Moodsters, anthropomorphized characters representing human emotions, she pitched to entertainment and toy companies around the country, including The Walt Disney Company. The panel held that, under DC Comics v. Towle, 802 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2015), lightly sketched characters such as The Moodsters, which lack consistent, identifiable character traits and attributes, do not enjoy copyright protection.

The case is Daniels v. The Walt Disney Co., read the decision below.


Central Park Five Prosecutor Sues Netflix + Ava DuVernay for Defamation

Former Manhattan prosecutor Linda Fairstein is suing Netflix and director Ava DuVernay, arguing that she was falsely portrayed as a "racist, unethical villain" pushing for the convictions of five black and Latino teenagers in "When They See Us," a series about the 1989 Central Park Five case. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Fort Myers, Florida, came after the series made Fairstein, a best-selling crime novelist, the object of public outrage, prompting her to be dropped by her publisher and resign from several prominent boards. In the suit, Fairstein claims the four-part series defamed her in nearly every scene in the three episodes in which her character appears. Netflix rejected Fairstein's claims and DuVernay declined to comment.



Pixar Pioneers Win $1 Million Turing Award

The Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest society of computing professionals, announced that Drs. Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan would receive this year's Turing Award for their work on three-dimensional computer graphics. Often called the Nobel Prize of computing, the Turing Award comes with a $1 million prize, which will be split by the two pioneers of what is often called C.G.I., or computer-generated imagery. The Drs. created computer techniques that remade animation, special effects, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Their work changed not only animated movies, but also Hollywood special effects, video games, and virtual reality.


Rich + Famous at the Front of COVID-19 Test Line

Politicians, celebrities, social media influencers, and even National Basketball Association (NBA) teams have been tested for the new coronavirus. Yet as that list of rich, famous, and powerful people grows by the day, so do questions about whether they are getting access to testing that is denied to other Americans. With tests still in short supply in areas of the country and health care workers and many sick people unable to get diagnoses, some prominent personalities have obtained tests without exhibiting symptoms or having known contact with someone who has the virus, as required by some testing guidelines. Others have refused to specify how they were tested. Such cases have provoked accusations of elitism and preferential treatment about a testing system that has already been plagued with delays and confusion, and now stirred a new national debate that has reached the White House -- with Trump being asked at a news conference whether "the well-connected go to the front of the line."


The "Freelance Hustle" Fails a Singer

Jenna Camille Henderson, a singer-songwriter in Washington, D.C., didn't have just one job. Instead, like many other musicians and creative workers in the United States, she pieced together a living from multiple sources. This delicate process, known dryly as the freelance hustle, can be exasperating, but it can also provide a special kind of freedom and independence. It can even be reassuring to know that your economic fortunes aren't tied to a single company or field, until a global pandemic hits, and all the places where one works are affected. Henderson, who does not have health insurance, has no source of income for the foreseeable future. As freelancers, she said, "I think we take for granted that there's always going to be something to do."


Box Office Sales Hit Historic Low

Hollywood may have just had its worst weekend since ticketing data started to be independently compiled in the 1980s. Most cinemas in the United States remain open, with the two biggest chains, AMC and Regal, reducing seating capacity in auditoriums by 50% so that people could leave at least one empty seat between them. However, fears about the coronavirus kept the masses at home: Domestic ticket sales totaled about $55.3 million, a 44% drop from last weekend, despite three new films -- "Bloodshot," "The Hunt", and "I Still Believe" -- arriving in wide release. It was the worst period for movie theaters in two decades, according to Comscore, which compiles box office data. The next lowest weekend was September 15 to 17 in 2000, when ticket sales totaled $54.5 million - or roughly $83 million in today's money.


Movie Theaters Want Relief Too

The National Association of Theatre Owners urged U.S. lawmakers to approve loan guarantees to help cover fixed costs, tax benefits for employers providing support to employees, and other measures. "The business model of the movie theater industry is uniquely vulnerable to the present crisis," the group said in a statement. Most movie theaters in the United States, including those owned by AMC Entertainment and Cineworld Group Plc's Regal Cinemas, shuttered this week to help prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading.



Openings Just Went POOF

Artists, actors, dancers, and authors search for a silver lining as openings are disrupted by the virus outbreak. Most of New York's culture system -- and indeed the country's -- shut down all at once last week. The impact of indefinite closures to the public or by-appointment hours won't be fully understood for a while, nor will it be uniform. For young and emerging artists whose openings were scheduled this week, some of which represented large scale debuts in their field, the personal disruption can feel profound.


Workers Behind the Stars Are Hurting

Last week, Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Presents, the two biggest powers in the industry, put their shows on hiatus amid growing concern over the rapid spread of the coronavirus, sending stars like Billie Eilish, Jason Aldean, and Cher to social media to apologize to their fans for the scuttled shows. Behind the artists who appear onstage, however, is a fragile pool of thousands of workers who perform much of the labor that allows tours to go on -- from sound and lighting to transportation, merchandise sales, and hospitality. Most are freelancers with few if any employment protections, and they now face months of uncertainty, and potential economic ruin, if the touring interruption consumes the all-important summer season.


Performers Discover a Stage on the Web

Videos of performers sprouted on social media after Tony-winning actress Laura Benanti invited theater kids to share songs from shows canceled by the coronavirus. In a tweet, Benanti wrote "Dark times for all. Trying to find some bright spots. If you were meant to perform in your High School musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing and tag me. I want to be your audience!! Sending all my love and black market toilet paper." Her offer had been viewed more than 3 million times, thousands of students, their parents, and teachers, have responded by posting footage of rehearsals and performances from shows that have been postponed or canceled and it has been followed by a string of other efforts to find new platforms for performers whose productions have been silenced.



Court Holds That Copyright Licensee Has Unrestricted Sublicense Rights

In a case of first impression, the First Circuit held that a copyright licensee given the unrestricted right to grant sublicenses may do so without using express language. The court held that Sylvania, which paid $3 million to license Photographic's images, could sublicense them to Orgill, even though it never gave the distributor explicit permission to use them. Read the decision below.


Last Call for Beauty and Books

Amidst all the closures happening across the globe, news that the New York Public Library would be closing its Rose Main Reading Room in its 42nd Street flagship -- along with its 91 other locations across Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx -- at least until April 1 caused a special kind of sadness and alarm. The Rose Reading Room, lined with two levels of bookshelves and huge arched windows overlooking Bryant Park, is one of the great spaces of New York. It's a Grand Central Terminal for the bookish, complete with (in more ordinary times) crowds of tourists snapping photos from a designated zone near the entrance.


F.I.T. Runway Fiasco

Before the coronavirus outbreak shut down classes, the Fashion Institute of Technology had been in upheaval, since a student designer used oversized lips and "monkey ears" in a fashion show last month, setting off widespread outrage. Other episodes have also bubbled to the surface, revealing what many students and some faculty members describe as a climate of racial insensitivity; for example, some African-American students said they were told that their "bushy Afro" would ruin a fashion show because their hair wasn't "professional or sleek enough." Following the fallout over the lips and ears at the fashion show, the school held an emotional forum in which several black students criticized the school and its president, Dr. Joyce Brown, who herself is African-American, over what they said were deeper, systemic problems.


Ballet School Rehired an Embezzler

Sophia Kim had been the treasurer at the Kirov Academy of Ballet two decades ago, when the school was affiliated with the Unification Church of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. However, Kim also had a gambling habit and had spent almost two years in prison for embezzling $800,000 from another nonprofit affiliated with the church. It was therefore was more than a bit surprising when the Kirov Academy, for reasons that remain tremendously opaque, hired Kim back, put her in charge of the books, and gave her a Branch Banking & Trust debit card and access to the school's accounts. The consequences of that decision became clearer earlier this month, when Kim appeared in court to face charges that, not long after she started working again at the Kirov Academy, she misappropriated $1.5 million from its coffers. According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit, over a period of nine months in 2018, Kim wrote checks to herself and used the bank card 120 times to withdraw cash and pay off losses at the MGM Grand Casino in nearby Maryland.


District Court Holds Cox Media Liable for Copyright Infringement

Last week, the EDNY granted summary judgment for a plaintiff photographer and denied summary judgment for defendant Cox Media Group, rejecting Cox's fair use defense and finding that its use of a photo of a 2017 terrorist attack violated the plaintiff's copyright. The court found that while fair use sometimes allowed news organizations to use works, that only applied if they were actually reporting on the work itself - but Cox's article didn't serve to illustrate commentary, criticism, or a news story about the photograph.

Read the decision below.


Artist Sues Sotheby's for Infringement

Belgian artist Christian Silvain has filed a complaint against Sotheby's, alleging that works Sotheby's is selling by Chinese artist Ye Yongqing infringe Silvain's works. Yongqing has vehemently denied copying Silvain's works.

Read more about the case below.



Metropolitan Museum of Art Prepares for $100 Million Loss and Closure Until July

In a powerful sign that casualties of the coronavirus outbreak include even the country's strongest cultural institutions, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) is projecting a total shortfall of close to $100 million for the near future and expects to be closed until July, according to a letter sent to its department heads. "This is an extraordinarily challenging time for us all," said the letter, signed by the Met's top executives, Daniel H. Weiss, the president and chief executive, and Max Hollein, the director. "As staff members of The Met we all have a profound responsibility to protect and preserve the treasured institution we inherited."


Amazon Bans, Then Reinstates, Hitler's Mein Kampf

Amazon quietly banned Adolf Hitler's manifesto Mein Kampf late last week as part of its accelerating efforts to remove Nazi and other hate-filled material from its bookstore, before quickly reversing itself as it was caught between two demands that cannot be reconciled. Amazon is under pressure to keep hate literature off its vast platform at a moment when extremist impulses seem on the rise. Yet the company does not want to be seen as the arbiter of what people are allowed to read, which is traditionally the hallmark of repressive regimes.


The World of Books Braces for a Newly Ominous Future

Publishers, bookstores, and authors are struggling to confront and limit the financial fallout from the unfolding coronavirus crisis. Many fear the worst is yet to come, including more store closures and potential disruptions to warehouse and distribution centers, as well as possible paper shortages and a decline in printing capacity. "There's no question we're going to see a drop in sales," said Dennis Johnson, co-publisher of the Brooklyn-based independent press Melville House, who has directed staff to work from home. "It's unprecedented. Nobody knows what to do except hoard Purell."


Researcher Quits After Nazi Looted Art Isn't Returned

Researcher Sibylle Ehringhaus worked with the Georg Schäfer Museum in northern Bavaria to examine the ownership history of its 1,000 oil paintings and several thousand drawings, prints, and watercolors. Schäfer, the industrialist whose collection is displayed there, had bought much of the art in the 1950s in Munich, then a hub for dealers who had had relationships with the Nazis. Among those from whom he purchased works was Adolf Hitler's personal photographer. Ehringhaus's job was, in part, to determine just how much of the collection had a tainted provenance. After she had identified several plundered works, she said, no one seemed to have any plans to return them to the heirs of the original Jewish owners. Increasingly, she said, she began to feel her work was unwelcome. She was denied access to historical documents vital for her research, she said, and forbidden to contact colleagues at another museum with a research inquiry. Therefore, in December she rejected an offer to extend her contract for another year. The museum has denied trying to hinder Ehringhaus's work.


Art Basel Goes Virtual

After canceling its fair, Art Basel Hong Kong will present more than 2,000 works online with an estimated value of $270 million. That's just the beginning as the art world goes virtual. Art Basel will, for the first time, offer online viewing rooms to replace the Hong Kong fair that was canceled this month because of the pandemic. More than 230 dealers who planned to bring work to Asia will instead offer some 2,000 pieces through the virtual fair with an estimated value of $270 million, including 70 items over $1 million. Galleries throughout the United States are also considering web-based works and curated online exhibitions.



NBA Shutdown Not a Surprise

The NBA was the first major professional sports league in North America to suspend operations in response to the coronavirus outbreak, now a pandemic, but Danilo Gallinari, as Italy's pre-eminent basketball export, had been consumed by the crisis for weeks. Only China, where the respiratory virus originated, has been hit harder by the outbreak than Italy, which had reported nearly 25,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 1,800 deaths so far. Mattia Ferraresi, who works for the Italian newspaper Il Foglio, wrote recently in a cautionary piece for The Boston Globe that "it took weeks after the virus first appeared here to realize that several measures were absolutely necessary," and that many Italians now regret not taking the coronavirus more seriously in its early stages. "The way to avoid or mitigate all this in the United States and elsewhere is to do something similar to what Italy, Denmark and Finland are doing now, but without wasting the few, messy weeks in which we thought a few local lockdowns, canceling public gatherings and warmly encouraging working from home would be enough stop the spread of the virus," Ferraresi wrote. "We now know that wasn't nearly enough."


National Football League Players Vote Yes on 10-Year Labor Deal

National Football League (NFL) players voted to approve a new 10-year labor deal that will include the first major expansion to the NFL season in more than four decades. A narrow majority of the league's roughly 2,000 players signed off on the deal, paving the way for the addition of a 17th regular-season game, an expanded playoff format, more limited training camps, and a relaxation of rules governing the use of marijuana. The players' union said in a statement that the final tally had 1,019 players voting for the deal and 959 voting against it.


NFL to Ban Public from Draft

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended gatherings of no more than 50 people, the NFL canceled plans to hold its draft publicly in Las Vegas and will conduct the three-day event in front of a television audience only, the latest sports-schedule change due to restrictions designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The draft will take place April 23 through 25, as originally planned. "The NFL is exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted and will provide that information as it becomes available," the league said in a statement. "Public NFL draft events in Las Vegas next month will not take place."


International Olympic Committee Says the Summer Olympics Will Continue

Even as the coronavirus spreads across the world, overwhelming health care systems and cratering national economies, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) doubled down on its commitment to hold the 2020 Games in Tokyo this summer, stunning athletes and other stakeholders who had been preparing for a postponement.



"The Scheme" Exposes the Racket of Recruiting

A documentary pulls back the layers of corruption in college basketball with a talent scout who was a part of it. Christian Dawkins, a middle man and a scout for a top NBA agent, reappears as a star of "The Scheme," an HBO Sports documentary directed by Pat Kondelis that will air on March 31. The film exposes the septic tank that is college basketball, and the coaches and university officials who claim not to notice the stink.


For Female Athletes, the Financial Fallout Hits Especially Hard

The coronavirus has upended the sports world, throwing many professional athletes into uncertainty. Women, who have fought so hard to get to the top level of sports, might feel a sharper pain than travel woes. Their paychecks and sponsor deals are often much smaller than men's and their leagues are less established. The specter of a recession is an additional concern. Women's professional leagues are usually laser-focused on building on their successes and finding ways to cultivate their brands to make them sustainable for the long run. Yet like the rest of a population faced with daily complications caused by the coronavirus, they now have to figure out how to navigate a world that changes seemingly by the minute.


French Open Pushed to September

The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments that define success in tennis, will be postponed until September because of the coronavirus. French Open organizers announced the decision amid a wide lockdown in France aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. "The current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with the dates as originally planned," tournament officials said in a statement. Officials have now shifted those dates to September 20 to October 4.


Euro 2020 and Copa América Are Postponed for a Year

The quadrennial championships, two of the most important events on the sport's calendar, were scheduled for this summer but will now be moved to 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Tournament organizers announced that the European Championship (Euros), second only to the World Cup in importance and value in international soccer, will be postponed until 2021. Shortly afterwards, the organizers of the Copa América, South America's continental championship, which was scheduled to run concurrently with the Euros, announced that it would do the same, moving its event -- set for Argentina and Colombia this summer -- back a year. The move by the governing body for soccer in Europe, UEFA, will clear the month of summer dates blocked out for the tournament, known as Euro 2020, and could allow national leagues that have been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak to complete their seasons.





Social Distancing Tests the Internet

With millions of people suddenly working and learning from home during the coronavirus pandemic, internet companies are being put to the test with one of the biggest mass behavior changes that the nation has experienced. That is set to strain the internet's underlying infrastructure, with the burden likely to be particularly felt in two areas: the home networks that people have set up in their residences, and the home internet services from Comcast, Charter, and Verizon that those upon which home networks rely. "We just don't know" how the infrastructure will fare, said Tom Wheeler, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. "What is sufficient bandwidth for a couple of home computers for a husband and wife may not be sufficient when you add students who are going to class all day long operating from home." In response, Verizon, Charter, Cox, Comcast, and AT&T said that they were confident they could meet the demands placed on their home internet services, which includes cable broadband like Xfinity, fiber-based broadband like FIOS, mobile LTE services from Verizon and AT&T, and Wi-Fi hot spots. They added that they were taking measures to help people who were working and learning from home.


China to Expel American Journalists

In a sharp escalation of tensions between the U.S. and China, China announced that it would expel American journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. It also demanded that those outlets, as well as the Voice of America and Time magazine, provide the Chinese government with detailed information about their operations. The announcement, made by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came weeks after the Trump administration limited to 100 the number of Chinese citizens who can work in the United States for five state-run Chinese news organizations that are widely considered propaganda outlets.


China Defends Move Against American Journalists

An increasingly rancorous rivalry between the United States and China entered a new phase, as Beijing accused the Trump administration of starting a diplomatic clash that led it to expel almost all American journalists from three newspapers. The Chinese government cast its expulsion of the journalists as necessary to defend Beijing against what it perceived as an ideological campaign by the United States to impose its values on China. Around a dozen reporters could be required to leave, in a move that Beijing said was reciprocation for the United States' forcing out of about 60 Chinese reporters, who worked for propaganda outlets, this month. An official said the expulsions were needed to defend China's media against American suppression. Chinese state media outlets criticized American newspapers for coverage that they described as biased.


Coronavirus Outrage Spurs China's Internet Police to Action

As China tries to reshape the narrative of its fumbled response to the coronavirus outbreak, it is turning to a new breed of police that carry out real-world reprisals for digital misdeeds. The internet police, as they are known there, have gained power as the Communist Party has worked to seize greater control over the thoughts, words, and even memories of China's 800 million web users. Now, the force is emerging as a bulwark against the groundswell of anger over governance breakdowns that exacerbated the epidemic. Officers arrive with an unexpected rap at the door of online critics. They drag off offenders for hours of interrogation. They force their targets to sign loyalty pledges and recant remarks deemed politically unacceptable, even if those words were made in the relative privacy of a group chat. For example, a Wuhan doctor named Li Wenliang tried to alert colleagues about the spread of a mysterious virus in a chat group. Shortly afterwards, he was called to a police station and forced to sign a confession for spreading rumors. When Dr. Li died of the coronavirus, waves of mourning and anger swept across China's internet. To stanch anger over Dr. Li's death, and the deaths of the many others his warning might have saved, authorities have doubled down on the very tactics that drove the fury in the first place: using the internet police to muffle the most outspoken.



Trump Urges Limits Amid Pandemic, but Stops Short of National Mandates

Trump, under pressure to take more significant steps to slow the spreading coronavirus, issued national guidelines that included closing schools and avoiding bars, restaurants, and groups of more than 10 as he prepared for months of upheaval. The national guidelines, which also advise home-schooling and the curtailing of visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, are the most robust response so far from the Trump administration. Yet the guidelines, which officials described as a trial set, are not mandatory and fall short of a national quarantine and internal travel restrictions, which many health officials had urged.


As Virus Toll Soars, Feds Cut Rates

With the fast-spreading coronavirus posing a dire threat to economic growth, the Federal Reserve (Fed) took the dramatic step of slashing interest rates to near-zero and unveiled a sweeping set of programs in an effort backstop the United States economy. In addition to cutting its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point, returning it to a range of 0 to 0.25%, the Fed said it would inject huge sums into the economy by snapping up at least $500 billion of Treasury securities and at least $200 billion of mortgage-backed debt "over coming months." The action reflects the imminent peril facing the global economy as the virus shutters factories, quarantines workers, and disrupts everyday life. Trump, who has been vocal in his criticism of the Fed, praised the central bank's move and sought to assure worried Americans that food supplies would not be disrupted.


Trial of Coronavirus Vaccine Begins

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced that the first testing in humans of an experimental vaccine for the new coronavirus began last week. The main goal of this first set of tests is to find out if the vaccine is safe. If it is, later studies will determine how well it works. The trial was "launched in record speed," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the institute's director, said in a statement. Such rapid development of a potential vaccine is unprecedented, and it was possible because researchers were able to use what they already knew about related coronaviruses that had caused SARS and MERS outbreaks.


LinkedIn Files Cert Petition in Data Scraping Case

LinkedIn filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with SCOTUS, requesting review of the Ninth Circuit's decision in the data scraping case, hiQ Labs, Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp. The Ninth Circuit had denied LinkedIn's request for a preliminary injunction and found that hiQ's scraping was unlikely to constitute a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and that LinkedIn in fact could be in violation of California unfair competition law. Even with the Ninth Circuit's opinion, the law surrounding data scraping still remains unsettled. LinkedIn advanced several arguments as to why the Court should grant its petition and provide guidance in this area. In essence, LinkedIn declares that the hiQ decision was "unprecedented" and "denied operators of public-facing websites a critical means of protecting user data from unauthorized third-party scrapers."

See the full petition below.


Coronavirus Testing Website Goes Live and Quickly Hits Capacity

Google's sister company, Verily (a life sciences unit of Google's parent company, Alphabet) launched a website intended to facilitate nationwide testing for coronavirus. The website was meant to point people to testing locations in two San Francisco Bay Area counties, but it ran into two issues: First, it was telling people with symptoms of the virus that they were not eligible for the screening program. Second, users were asked to create an account with Google or log in to an existing Google account and sign an authorization form. Still, within a few hours of launching, Verily said that it could not schedule any more appointments at the time because it had reached capacity.


Charges Filed by Mueller Against Russian Companies May be Dropped

The Justice Department moved on Monday to drop charges against two Russian shell companies accused of financing schemes to interfere in the 2016 election, saying that they were exploiting the case to gain access to delicate information that Russia could weaponize. The companies, Concord Management and Concord Consulting, were charged in 2018 in an indictment secured by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, along with 13 Russians and another company, the Internet Research Agency. Prosecutors said they operated a sophisticated scheme to use social media to spread disinformation, exploit American social divisions, and try to subvert the 2016 election.


Senate Votes to Temporarily Reinstate FBI Spy Tools

The Senate voted to temporarily reinstate a handful of newly expired FBI tools for investigating terrorism and espionage in an attempt to grant lawmakers time to sort out broader differences over surveillance laws and move to addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Senators unanimously agreed to extend until early June the FBI powers that put into place after the September 11 attacks, without making other changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.


Accused Al-Qaeda Sympathizer Goes Home

When Uzair Paracha was convicted in 2005 in Manhattan of trying to help a terrorist enter the United States, federal prosecutors hailed the verdict as "another victory in the global fight against terrorism." He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Yet now -- nearly 17 years after he was first arrested -- Paracha, 40, has been released and flown to Pakistan, the land of his birth, with all charges against him dropped, according to his lawyer. Paracha's release followed months of secret negotiations between the government and his lawyers and comes nearly two years after a judge ordered a new trial for him, saying that newly discovered evidence called his guilt into question.


Trump Cites Coronavirus as He Announces a Border Crackdown

Citing the threat of the coronavirus to the American public, the Trump administration said that it would begin rapidly sending people who illegally cross the United States borders to their home countries and would halt the processing of undocumented migrants at ports of entry. Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, said the United States would also close the legal entry points along the border with Mexico and Canada to tourism. American citizens, lawful permanent residents and those crossing a border to seek medical treatment or attend educational institutions would not be affected. Commercial traffic would remain open, but port officers would stop processing those without legal authority to be in the United States, including asylum seekers.


Seeking Asylum but Sent into Peril

A new agreement allows the United, States to transfer asylum seekers to Guatemala, which poses its own risks and offers them little protection. The action is permitted under a recent accord between the Trump administration and Guatemala, and the administration began moving to tighten the southwestern border even further in response to the coronavirus crisis, adding another level of uncertainty to the fragile lives of asylum seekers. Critics said the deal may be a death sentence for migrants, because Guatemala has high crime rates, a nascent asylum process, and few protections for those fleeing threats and violence.


Inside Prisons on Edge

In jails and prisons across the country, concerns are rising of a coronavirus outbreak behind bars. Cases have already been reported. A Washington State prison employee tested positive for the virus and the sheriff in Hancock County, Indiana said that a staff member at the local jail was being isolated at home after a positive test. New York State has also confirmed that an employee at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility had tested positive. To try to prevent an outbreak in the federal prison system that holds more than 175,000 people, the Bureau of Prisons has suspended all visits for 30 days, including by lawyers. It has also barred transfers of inmates between facilities, with few exceptions. The Bureau said that the densely packed nature of prisons "creates a risk of infection and transmission for inmates and staff." Advocates in the United States have sounded alarms over whether correctional facilities here are adequately prepared to stop an outbreak within their walls. Much of the advice given by the CDC -- such as staying six feet away from others and routinely disinfecting surfaces -- can be nearly impossible to follow behind bars.


U.S. Retail Sales Post Biggest Drop in a Year

U.S. retail sales fell by the most in more than a year in February and the coronavirus pandemic is expected to depress sales in the months ahead, which could strengthen economists' expectations of a consumer-led recession by the second quarter. The Commerce Department issued a report showing broad weakness in sales; the report came on the heels of the Fed's aggressive step to cut interest rates to near zero, pledge hundreds of billions of dollars in asset purchases, and backstop foreign authorities with the offer of cheap dollar financing.


Retail Workers "Scared to go to Work"

The retail industry has endured a recent raft of bankruptcies and closures, as well as the pressure of new tariffs in the past year. It makes the prospect of losing weeks of business to the coronavirus even more chilling for many stores. However, staying open has also caused anxiety for their employees, who have to travel to their jobs and then interact with the public.


Warnings of Pandemic Went Unheeded

The outbreak of the coronavirus began in China and was quickly spread around the world by air travelers, who ran high fevers. In the United States, it was first detected in Chicago, and 47 days later, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. By then it was too late: 110 million Americans were expected to become ill, leading to 7.7 million hospitalized and 586,000 dead. That scenario, code-named "Crimson Contagion" and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration's Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August. The simulation's sobering results -- contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that had not previously been reported -- drove home just how underfunded, underprepared, and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed. The draft report, marked "not to be disclosed," laid out in stark detail repeated cases of "confusion" in the exercise. Federal agencies jockeyed over who was in charge. State officials and hospitals struggled to figure out what kind of equipment was stockpiled or available. Cities and states went their own ways on school closings. Many of the potentially deadly consequences of a failure to address the shortcomings are now playing out in all-too-real fashion across the country.


Democrats Sue Wisconsin Over Early Voting

The Wisconsin Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee sued Wisconsin elections officials last week, demanding that the deadline for online voter registration and vote by mail applications be extended beyond midnight on Wednesday. The lawsuit came as states around the country are scrambling to safely hold primary elections during the coronavirus outbreak. Five states so far have postponed their primaries, and Wyoming has canceled its in-person caucuses, opting to conduct its presidential nominating contest wholly by mail. Yet the Wisconsin primary, scheduled for April 7, includes numerous state, local, and municipal elections that would be more difficult to reschedule than just a presidential primary, because some involve a transfer of executive power. There is also an election for a State Supreme Court justice. The lawsuit calls for a new deadline of April 3 for electronic and by-mail registration. The suit is also seeking to drop a requirement that voters provide photo identification when requesting absentee ballots, and to allow any absentee or vote by mail ballot postmarked by April 7 to be valid for the election.


Math Nobel Prize Shared by Pioneers

Two mathematicians who showed how an underappreciated branch of the field could be employed to solve important problems share this year's Abel Prize, the mathematics equivalent of a Nobel. The winners are Hillel Furstenberg, 84, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Gregory Margulis, 74, of Yale University. Both are retired professors. The citation for the prize, awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, lauds the two mathematicians "for pioneering the use of methods from probability and dynamics in group theory, number theory and combinatorics."


Schools Want Guidance but Are Getting Confusion

The spread of the coronavirus is shutting down school systems across the country, but the federal government is offering little clarity on when they can reopen and what they should offer meanwhile. More than half of the states have shut down all their schools for two to six weeks, and some state leaders have begun to predict that their schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year. So far, instructions from the federal government have been contradictory and inconclusive. The CDC first recommended hygiene. Then it advised against gatherings of more than 50 people, hours before Trump lowered that to 10 for the next two weeks, with a vague call for home schooling where possible. "If you can't have groups of more than 10 congregated, how the hell are you going to keep schools open with hundreds, if not thousands, of people?" asked Dan Domenech, executive director of the AASA, the School Superintendents Association. Superintendents are wondering if their schools will be turned into hospitals, maybe even homeless shelters. As they contemplate transitioning to online classes -- which the vast majority of schools are not equipped to do -- they are worried about lawsuits or the loss of federal funding if they cannot provide the same level of education to all students.


Who's Protecting Janitors as We Vacate Buildings?

While many Americans are fleeing their offices to avoid any contact with the coronavirus, low-wage janitors are sometimes being asked to do the opposite. Although millions of Americans have been ordered to shelter in place, janitors are still being asked to go into offices to battle the invisible germs that threaten public health, even as those germs, and the new, powerful cleaning solutions they are being asked to use, may endanger their own health. They often operate without specialized protective gear and the increasing demand for their services is adding new stress and risks. Janitors wonder why they are left in the dark when companies go to great lengths to ensure that the tech, finance, and other workers occupying the buildings that they clean are aware of the most remote possibility of coming into contact with the virus. It shows, they say, how disparities play out in a public health crisis -- how their lives sometimes seem to be valued less than those of people with resources and power.


Trump Calls Coronavirus "Chinese Virus" + House Officials Call It "Kung Flu"

Since coronavirus infections started appearing in the United States in January, Asian Americans have shared stories of minor aggression to blatant attacks from people blaming them for the pandemic. Even with evidence of increased xenophobia, Trump said that he doesn't think calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" -- or the "kung-flu," as one administration official reportedly called it -- puts Asian Americans at risk of retaliation despite growing reports they are facing virus-related discrimination.


Income Tax Filing Deadline Extended to July

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the decision in a tweet, saying that at Trump's direction, "we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties." At a White House briefing, Trump said the delay on filing and paying taxes until July 15 was done to give taxpayers more time and "hopefully by that time, people will be getting back to their lives." Trump said that if people are expecting refunds, they should go ahead and file now so that they can get their refunds from the IRS more quickly.


Stock Sales by Senator Richard Burr Ignite Political Uproar

As the nation remained fixated on the final acts of the impeachment drama in early February, Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, already had his eye on a troubling new threat: the coronavirus. On the morning of February 4, Burr assembled members of the committee in a secure room on Capitol Hill to hear for the first time from intelligence officials about how foreign powers were responding to what the World Health Organization had days earlier declared a global health emergency. Two weeks later, on February 13, Burr sold off 33 different stock holdings, worth a collective $628,000 to $1.7 million, liquidating a large share of his portfolio. Burr's sale of the shares in the weeks before the market plunged over concerns about the economic impact of the virus at a time when Trump and other Republican officials were playing down the threat is now coming under intense scrutiny. It has also raised questions about whether he avoided losses by trading on inside information as Americans are looking to Washington for help in a severe crisis.


Coronavirus Stimulus Package Spurs a Lobbying Gold Rush

Some industries are in dire need of a bailout. Others see a rare chance to win special breaks at a moment when the fiscal spigots are open. While the halls of the Capitol are eerily quiet, lobbyists are burning up the phone lines and flooding email inboxes trying to capitalize on the stimulus bills moving quickly through Congress. Trump has already signed into law a coronavirus relief package including funds to provide sick leave, unemployment benefits, free coronavirus testing and food and medical aid to people affected by the pandemic.


One in Five Americans Ordered to Stay Home in Coronavirus Crackdown

By the end of the weekend, at least 1 in 5 Americans will be under orders to stay home in NYC, and more states were expected to follow suit. Increasingly severe shutdowns and restrictions on Americans' movement -- which public experts consider essential to reduce the alarming rate of infection -- have turned much of the country quiet. Forty-five states have closed all their schools and the other five have closed at least some of them. Bars, restaurants, and other gathering spots have been abruptly shuttered. New York State has become the epicenter of the outbreak and health officials have flagged with urgency a looming shortage of hospital beds and equipment. With six percent of the U.S. population, the state now accounts for over one-third of all confirmed cases in the country.


In This Crisis, U.S. Sheds Its Role as Global Leader

The United States led the world's response to other epidemics, like Ebola and AIDS, but a more nationalist United States is ceding leadership on this virus to China. As the coronavirus crisis escalates across the globe, the United States is stepping back further, abandoning its longtime role as a generous global leader able to coordinate an ambitious, multinational response to a worldwide emergency.


Governments and Companies Race to Make Masks Vital to Virus Fight

Trump sought to assure an anxious American public that help was on the way to overwhelmed hospitals, and that private companies had agreed to provide desperately needed medical supplies to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus. However, he resisted appeals from state and local officials and hospital administrators for more aggressive action, saying that he would not compel companies to make face masks and other gear to protect front-line health workers from the virus. Speaking at a White House briefing with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence said that the federal government had placed orders for "hundreds of millions" of the N-95 face masks that can shield medical workers from the virus. Trump said the clothing company Hanes was among those that had been enlisted to start churning out masks, although the company said it would not be making the N-95 masks that are most effective in protecting medical workers.


Used to Meeting Challenges with Bluster and Force, Trump Confronts a Crisis Unlike Any Before

The ways with which Trump dealt with crises in his business, real estate, and even his personal life prove jarring as he leads the government's response to a pandemic. Trump's performance on the national stage in recent weeks has put on display the traits that Democrats and some Republicans consider so jarring -- the profound need for personal praise, the propensity to blame others, the lack of human empathy, the penchant for rewriting history, the disregard for expertise, the distortion of facts, and the impatience with scrutiny or criticism. For years, skeptics expressed concern about how he would handle a genuine crisis threatening the nation, and now they know.


Top U.S. Intelligence Official Taps New Counterterrorism Chief

Lora Shiao, a career American intelligence officer, will be the next acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the government's central clearinghouse for intelligence on terrorist threats. Shiao, who is currently the center's third-ranking official, replaces Russell Travers, who was abruptly replaced recently amid planned cutbacks by the acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, that have prompted fears among career officials of potential political retribution and a widespread loss of expertise. Shiao will begin serving as acting director on April 3.


Court Says Putin Can Bypass Term Limits

Russia's highest court approved constitutional changes that opened the way for President Vladimir V. Putin to crash through term limits and stay in power through 2036. Putin has already been in power for two decades, either as president or prime minister, and was supposed to step down at the end of his current term in 2024 because of constitutional term limits. However, these limits were swept aside when lawmakers voted to reset the clock to zero when Putin's term runs out, allowing him to run for two more six-year terms.


Europe Barricades Borders to Slow Coronavirus

As European countries erect barriers between one another, the European Union (EU) announced a coordinated ban on nearly all travelers from the rest of the world. The EU banned nonessential travel from outside the bloc into 26 nations stretching from Portugal to Finland, home to more than 400 million people, for 30 days, as Europe's leaders grudgingly, belatedly accepted that being at the heart of a global pandemic and trying to fight it will mean severe social and economic hardship. The move by Brussels was just the most dramatic on a day full of evidence that European life was abruptly becoming more atomized and constrained than anything in Europe's modern history outside wartime.


Week In Review - Week Ending 3-29

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below,for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News, including coronavirus information:


Jury Hands Win to Publishers in Class Rock Archive Intellectual Property Suit

Several music publishers sued Wolfgang's Vault (Bill Graham Archives LLC) for copyright infringement. A jury has now found the Vault liable for damages for its streaming of archival concert footage without having obtained necessary licenses covering the reproduction and distribution of the musical works. It awarded ABKCO Music Inc. and other publishers &189,500.


Recent Decisions in Copyright Cases Alleviate Concerns for Songwriters and Producers

Recent cases involving Led Zeppelin and Katy Perry address important aspects of how copyright applies to music and suggest that the "'Blurred Lines' curse has been lifted." Lawyers are primarily focusing on the Ninth Circuit decision that heard the appeal in the Led Zeppelin case. The en banc decision explained that in works that involve generic or commonplace elements, only a minimal, or "thin," level of copyright applies. In those cases, the plaintiff must show that a work is "virtually identical" to the defendant's.


Talent Agent Accused of Emotional Abuse and Breach of Contract

Brooklyn-based talent agent Brhonson Lexier St. Surin has been sued by several models who describe abusive behaviour, including offering them screen tests that involved sex on camera, in exchange for professional development and opportunities.


Video-Sharing Subscription Service Helps Performers in Need

Launched this week, The Trickle Up is a subscription-based service that offers performance videos by participating artists. All proceeds benefit New York artists who are impacted by the coronavirus shutdown. More than 50 artists have signed on. Each performer can designate an artist in need as a beneficiary.


Partying During a Pandemic

Parties are moving to online streams, as popular D.J.s host sets on Instagram Live and other social media platforms to curb the spread of coronavirus.



Supreme Court Issues 9-0 Decision in Copyright Infringement Case

In the third decision issued this week (Allen v Cooper), the court held that states are immune from claims of copyright infringement. In an opinion by Justice Kagan, the court held that Congress lacked authority to abrogate the states' sovereign immunity from copyright infringement suits in the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990. As such, North Carolina could not be sued by a videographer for copyright infringement of images/video related to a shipwreck off the North Carolina coast.


Children's Publishers See Spike in Sales Following School Closures

As schools across America closed, parents turned to homeschooling, and sales of reading and writing workbooks have skyrocketed, as have sales of juvenile nonfiction (by nearly 40%). Physical book sales across all categories predictably fell by 10% during the week ending March 14.


New York Philharmonic Cancels Season Due to Coronavirus

The orchestra anticipates losing $10 million, with its endowment already at 14%. It says its musicians will have health benefits through September, but pay will be reduced in stages.


Theaters Across the Country Cancelling Performances, with Huge Impact on Workers

Theaters across the U.S. are cancelling their spring productions, with some moving their spring and summer shows to next season. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, for instance, will not offer performances until after Labor Day and will lay off 80% of its 500-person workforce.


Losing the Arts in a Pandemic

The article poses important questions about how to maintain connectivity (and sanity) during this time, when much of what we rely on for the purpose of social cohesion has been suspended.


University of Michigan Fires Voice Professor David Daniels

The school announced its decision a year after Daniels and his husband were charged with sexually assaulting another singer. It was the first time that the university's Board of Regents voted to dismiss a tenured professor. It did so without severance pay.


Tony-Winning Playwright Terrence McNally Dies at 81

With some three dozen plays to his credit, McNally is best known for theater work that "dramatized and domesticated gay life". He died of coronavirus complications in Florida.


Swiss Museum Settles Claim Over Art Acquired During Nazi Regime

Basel's Kunstmuseum agreed to pay the heirs of a Jewish museum director for 200 works that he sold before fleeing persecution. The museum maintains the position that it acquired the works in good faith at a 1933 Berlin auction, and so there is no basis for restitution.


Royal Ballet Parts Ways with British Choreographer Liam Scarlett

Scarlett left his position as the Royal Ballet's artist-in-residence after an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct with dance students. He was suspended when the company first learned of the allegations. The inquiry did ultimately find there were "no matters to pursue" against him.



International Olympic Committee Postpones Tokyo Games Until July 2021

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan agreed to postpone the Summer Olympics in Tokyo to 2021. There was great resistance to the move in the weeks (and days) before the announcement, which became all but inevitable after Canada's Olympic committee withdrew from the Games, and other countries took public positions urging the IOC to postpone. As the IOC deliberated on the future of the 2020 Games, a survey by the Athletics Association found broad support for a delay among track and field athletes. Organizers are considering July 23, 2021 as the new opening date.




Advertisers and TV Outlets Scramble After Tokyo Olympics Postponed

The article discusses the logistical and financial challenges that result from postponing the Games, including losses to NBCUniversal, which has the rights to broadcast the Olympics in the U.S. It is clear that advertisers will not be able to take that money and spend it on anything else that affords them the same kind of reach, brand, and sales impact that the Olympics would deliver to them.


USA Gymnastics' Settlement Hearing Postponed Due to Coronavirus

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District Indiana Judge Robyn Moberly issued an indefinite continuance for the hearing scheduled for next week.
The hearing was on the disclosure statement that USA Gymnastics filed with the court last month. The disclosure statement outlined the organization's proposed $217 million settlement with survivors of sexual abuse. The judge gave the NGB until June 2, 2020 to file its Chapter 11 reorganization plan.


Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson Files Lawsuit Against Amazon.com

Jackson claims that the online retail giant is unfairly profiting from apparel based on his public image and catch phrases. He claims that Amazon is damaging his own apparel company, which sells similar products online, and is seeking compensation and damages.


National Football League Draft Will Proceed as Planned on April 23-25

Commissioner Goodell announced in a leaguewide memo that the National Football League (NFL) draft will go on as scheduled. He told teams to prepare to conduct the draft outside team facilities, which were ordered closed. Draft prospects will remain off-site. The event will be closed to the public.


New Pension Deal for Former NFL Players

Former NFL players are questioning the logic of some trade-offs in the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. Under the deal, former players will get bumps in their pensions. However, another provision stipulates that about 400 former players will see their disability payments decline by the value of their Social Security disability benefits. The Executive Director of the players' association said the union agreed to the cuts because the pension benefits would help more players.


Baseball Closed on Opening Day

The baseball season has been postponed indefinitely and along with it have gone all opening day traditions across America's ballparks. Meanwhile, the National Baseball League (NBL) and the players' union laid out a framework to navigate labor issues in a suspended season. Ratified by players on Friday, the agreement preserves service time if the season is cancelled. In addition, management will advance $170 million in salary payments over what would have been the first 60 days of the regular season.



U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee Unsuccessful in Obtaining Relief from Congress

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) unsuccessfully lobbied Congress for $200 million in funding (as part of the federal relief package) to be paid to athletes and national governing bodies (NGBs). Its estimated losses during the pandemic could be between $600-$800 million; the anticipated cancellation of at least 8,029 events by June would cost Olympic sport NGBs $150 million in lost revenue, and Team USA athletes $25 million.


USA Cycling First National Governing Body to Announce Layoffs, Furloughs Due to Coronavirus

USA Cycling has laid off or furloughed more than 30% of its workforce. The CEO said that the furloughs were set to last between two and six months, depending on the duration of the pandemic. Workers will maintain health insurance coverage for 90 days.


FIFA Considering New Regulations for Player Contracts and Transactions Between Clubs

Soccer's governing body wants to issue central guidance to clubs to mitigate the effects of the stoppage that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic. Its main focus is on player contracts and transfer windows. Its most direct initiative at this time is "a suggestion that it could dip into its own cash reserves to help pay salaries for players."


IOC Held Boxing Qualifier in the EU Despite Virus Warning

Seven people have now tested positive following the European qualifying tournament, including three Turkish boxers and a coach. Competitors questioned the IOC's decision to go ahead with the tournament, despite other major sporting even cancellations and evidence that the virus was already spreading in Britain, the host country. The Olympic Games had not yet been postponed when the event took place.



U.S. Officials Consider Expelling Chinese Media Outlets

Trump administration officials are considering taking action against suspected spies at Chinese media organizations, after China said that it would expel almost all American journalists from three major American newspapers operating in mainland China. American counterintelligence officials are scrutinizing the work of Chinese journalists and suspect that state-run outlets are providing cover for intelligence operatives. Meanwhile, the three newspapers released a statement asking China to reverse its decision and criticizing the government for its crackdown on independent news organizations.



Epidemic Revives Facebook as a News Powerhouse

According to an internal report obtained by The New York Times, more than half of news articles that Americans were reading on Facebook were related to the coronavirus. More significantly, last week, U.S. traffic from Facebook to other websites increased by more than 50%. This skyrocketing traffic and a surge in new users is now stressing Facebook's systems, while it is trying to keep users' data secure, moderating content, and having 45,000 employees working from home.



Local News Outlets Hit Hard by Coronavirus

Layoffs and cancelled print editions of weekly or daily newspapers has shaken the already weakened publications that relied on ad revenue to support their staffs. Larger publications have also made adjustments by way of furloughing a percentage of their work forces, primarily journalists covering sports and social events.


Robert Murdoch's Prudent Private Conduct at Odds with Fox News' Coronavirus Reports

While Fox News coverage of the pandemic was downplaying its risks, Murdoch, the chairman of Fox News, cancelled a planned birthday celebration out of concern for his health. People with knowledge of the company say Murdoch's successor, his son, played little role in the recent coverage of the public health crisis.


Fox Business Host Who Called the Pandemic an Attempt to Impeach the President, Leaves News Network

Trish Regan's departure comes after her prime-time program was abruptly pulled from the schedule this month. Two weeks ago, Regan dismissed concerns about the coronavirus and called it a scam fueled by the president's enemies.


Turkey Ends Inquiry into Jamal Khashoggi's Killing

Turkey announced indictments against 20 suspects in the killing of dissident journalist. However, human rights advocates doubt anyone will ever be held accountable, given that none of the suspects are in Turkey and the country does not normally try defendants in absentia.


General News

Congress Passes $2.2 Trillion Aid Package

The U.S. Congress passed a record $2.2 trillion stimulus package, which the president signed into law on March 27, 2020. It is the most significant piece of federal disaster and economic relief ever passed in the U.S. Under the plan, individual Americans will receive rebate checks ($1,200, with an additional $500 per child; those making up to $75,000 are eligible) and expanded unemployment insurance benefits (an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits). These benefits are also extended to freelancers and "gig workers."

Key Provisions of the CARES Act:
• Hospitals and health care: $100 billion set aside for hospitals managing the pandemic. Another $40 billion to support the rest of the health system, including providing PPE for health care workers; testing supplies; increased workforce and training; support to the CDC. Coronavirus testing and potential vaccines will be covered.
• States and local governments: $30 billion set aside for states and educational institutions. $45 billion for disaster relief, and $25 billion for transit programs.
• Small business relief: $350 billion dedicated to preventing layoffs and business closures. Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during the pandemic can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance.
• Large corporations: $500 billion is earmarked for a lending program for distressed businesses. The funding will provide loans, loan guarantees, and be overseen by a Treasury Department inspector general. Loans will not exceed 5 years and cannot be forgiven.



Who is Eligible for Federally Mandated Paid Leave?

The emergency relief package "gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable because of coronavirus." To qualify, workers must have been with their employers for at least 30 days. Government employees and most workers at small and midsize companies and non-profits can benefit.


Pandemic Ravages New York State Budget

The statewide economic shutdown and consequent economic slowdown is estimated to cost New York State between $9 to $15 billion in lost tax revenue. Governor Andrew Cuomo called the federal stimulus package "terrible" for New York, saying that only $3.1 billion was earmarked to help the state with its budget gap. His office says that amount is "disproportionately low compared to the funds allotted to states with fewer coronavirus cases and smaller budgets." New York City's mayor shared similar concerns since the city would receive $1 billion in direct aid despite having a third of the country's cases.


Supreme Court Issues Three Major Opinions

The Court released a series of decisions this week, but in a sharp break with their practice, Justices did not take the bench to announce the decisions. Some of them also participated by phone in a private conference where they discuss which appeals to hear next. Those who attended in person did away with the custom of shaking hands with each other every time they convene. Oral arguments before the Court have been postponed.

In Comcast Corp v National Association of African American-Owned Media, the Court held that an entrepreneur suing Comcast for race discrimination must meet a demanding standard.

In Kahler v Kansas, the Court said that states may abolish a common form of the insanity defense.


President Trump Issues Order to Force General Motors to Produce Ventilators Under Defense Production Act

According to the president, Friday's order will help ensure the quick production of ventilators. He added that the issue is much too urgent to "allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course." GM was already working with a Seattle-area ventilator maker and trying to repurpose its factories for the job.


Weekly Unemployment Claims Soar to Record 3.28 Million

More than 3 million Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits last week. Strict measures to lessen the spread of the virus led to a sudden stop in economic activity and to a wave of layoffs - nearly half of the country's population is under some form of lockdown. Layoffs were concentrated in food service, health care, social assistance, arts, entertainment, and manufacturing.



Federal Reserve Unveils Unlimited Bond-Buying Plan

In a series of emergency lending programs, the Federal Reserve will buy as much government-backed debt as needed to bolster the markets for housing and Treasury bonds. For the first time in history, it will also buy corporate bonds.


New York City Region is Now an Epicentre of the Coronavirus Pandemic

New York and its suburbs have over 50,000 confirmed cases, which accounts for about 6% of global cases and half of those in the U.S. Governor Cuomo called on federal officials to nationalize the manufacturing of medical supplies, including ventilators.

Epidemiologists say density is the city's biggest enemy in its fight to slow the spread of the virus. It is also the reason why the city became an epicentre of the outbreak. New York has 28,000 residents per square mile. (San Francisco, the next most densely populated city, has 17,000.)




New York State Primary Delayed

Governor Cuomo announced on March 28 that New York will postpone its April 28 presidential primary until June 23. More than a dozen states have rescheduled their primary elections so far, citing guidance from health officials who continue to urge people to avoid large gatherings. Some states have extended deadlines and switched to voting entirely by mail.


Designated COVID-19 Hospitals in New York

Governor Cuomo announced that the state will dedicate specific hospital facilities as COVID-19 patient only. The state has already identified three sites with more than 600 dedicated beds - South Beach Psychiatric Facility in Staten Island, Westchester Square in the Bronx, and SUNY Downstate in Buffalo.

The federal government approved four new temporary facilities to be built by the Army Corps of Engineers. They will add 4,000 beds to the state's capacity. The 1,000-bed temporary hospital at the Javits Center is expected to open on March 30.


All Non-Essential Construction in New York State Must Be Suspended

Essential construction on roads, bridges, transit facilities, and health care facilities may continue. The link below offers guidance on which businesses are subject to workforce reduction.


Executive Order Will Allow One Companion for Women Giving Birth

Governor Cuomo announced that hospitals will not be able to prevent a woman from having a companion present during childbirth.


President Trump to Issue Travel Advisory for New York Region, Abandons Quarantine Proposal

Trump is no longer considering a quarantine of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, but will issue a travel advisory for that region. Governors were quick to oppose the idea and public health experts said that a travel ban in one of the most populated parts of the country would likely backfire by causing people to flee out of fear of being stuck.


Health Experts Say Fast-Moving Pathogen Can Only Be Stopped with Harsh Measures

Public health experts continue to state that countries can contain clusters by identifying and stopping discrete outbreaks, and then doing rigorous contact tracing. Efforts at containment, they say, are only as successful as the ability of people to stay home and the ability of government to shut down non-essential businesses and expand travel restrictions. New York officials are considering whether to impose $500 fines on residents violating social distancing rules.



Citing Coronavirus, Environmental Protection Agency Relaxes Environmental Rules

In what is being called a "nationwide waiver of environmental rules," the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will now allow power plants, factories, and other facilities to monitor themselves on whether they are meeting legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution. The new guidelines are in place for an undetermined period of time as businesses face personnel challenges during the pandemic. The EPA will not issue fines for certain reporting violations.


Trump Administration Presses Forward with Regulatory Rollbacks

The administration is moving ahead with major reversals of environmental regulation, including a measure to weaken automobile fuel efficiency standards. Others relate to mercury emissions, controls on toxic ash from coal plants, and restrictions on scientific research.


Effect of Air Pollution on Lungs and How to Protect Yourself

The article outlines how air pollution can cause or aggravate respiratory illnesses that make someone more susceptible to complications following a lung infection. It also states that exposure to air pollution is known to raise the chance of contracting viruses in the first place. Unfortunately, some areas of high exposure remain open, like power plants and refineries. Indoor air quality is something we can control - that includes, avoiding second-hand smoke indoors, reducing respiratory irritants from gas stoves, or having an air purifier.


Thousands of New York City Workers Laid Off with No Severance

About 1,200 airport workers have been laid off and are expected to run out of health insurance at the end of the month. Most of the workers were employed at restaurants and stores operated at New York's airports. OTG, one of the biggest operators of airport concessions in New York, said that travel restrictions have grounded airlines, and informed its workers that they would receive no severance.


April Bills Loom. The Economy Depends on How Many Are Left Unpaid

As the first of the month approaches, companies and households will have to decide which bills they can afford to pay. The article explains that the trajectory of the U.S. economy will largely rest on how many payments go unmade.


Package Delivery Employees Are Going to Work Sick

Many truckers and warehouse workers are still showing up to work in the crowded shipping facilities of some of the largest shipping companies in the U.S. Some cite their financial circumstances that don't afford them the option of staying home; others say supervisors had rebuffed them when they asked for sanitation supplies. Given the extent to which households under stay-at-home orders are now relying on delivery systems, the pressure to report to work has only intensified.


Operations at Non-profits Across the U.S. Upended by the Coronavirus Outbreak

Non-profits are suffering on various fronts: donors are stretched thin; social distancing rules make their services impossible to deliver; and crucial spring fundraisers are being cancelled. It comes at a time when some of these service agencies are or should be on the front lines of the pandemic. Some are soliciting corporate and individual donations to create emergency funds to allow them to operate for the time being.


Wall Street Starts Living a New Reality

Wall Street is trying to balance client expectations with the need to protect employees from the virus. Starting March 30, the New York Stock Exchange will transition entirely to electronic trading to protect the health of its workers. Some firms have already adopted emergency work policies, including remote work.


The Risks of Self-Isolation to Domestic Violence Victims

The article addresses the risks of someone being quarantined with an abusive partner and cites reports of an uptick in domestic violence cases in China during the lockdown. While shelters in New York City, for instance, remain open because they are deemed essential services, service providers are not as available or only assisting clients by phone. In New York State, the chief administrative judge of the courts issued an order extending all temporary orders of protection. New applications can be filed by email and necessary hearings will take place virtually. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached by calling: 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.


Texas and Ohio Include Abortions as Medical Procedures That Must Be Delayed

Most hospitals have now postponed elective surgeries or non-essential medical procedures in an effort to preserve protective equipment for health care workers, free up hospitals beds for COVID patients, and generally reduce the number of people relying on hospital resources. Two states have now included abortions in their list of medical procedures that must be delayed. Texas is postponing "any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother." Abortion rights activists accused state leaders of using the pandemic to further their political agendas.


States Differ on What Services Are Considered Essential

Most states have now generated lists of essential services/businesses that can operate during the shutdown. There is some variation among these lists, and some businesses have already been successful at appealing the restrictions, causing the states to tweak their lists. They include bike shop owners and shops that sell and repair mobile phones. Other workers are questioning why their jobs are considered essential - for instances, chocolate makers have continued to operate by virtue of being a business making or selling food.


Justice Department Releases Proposals to Address Pandemic-Related Issues

The Justice Department is calling for legislative action to prevent disruptions related to the coronavirus. Among the proposals are letting more federal inmates serve their time at home; steering masks and testing kits to federal prisons; and authorizing the use of video/teleconferencing for preliminary proceedings, including arraignments.



Vacancies in Trump Administration Hinder Action

Vacancies in leadership positions below the secretary level are extremely high. Ten of the 15 cabinet agencies are operating without a deputy secretary. Some criticize the president for being slow in nominating senior officials, while the White House attributes the vacancies to the obstruction tactics used by Senate Democrats to delay the confirmation of some nominees.


Closed Border with Mexico Signals Looming Disaster for Asylum Seekers

Citing concerns over the pandemic, the U.S. announced that in addition to closing the Mexican border to non-essential traffic, it would also shut off access for anyone trying to claim asylum from the border. The U.S. will deport anyone caught crossing between official ports of entry. Mexico agreed to accept both Mexican citizens and Central Americans returned to Mexico under this policy, causing many to worry over the growing of an already sizeable migrant population along the border.


Military Judge Presiding in 9/11 Trial Set to Retire

The long-running death penalty trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, faces uncertainty after the presiding judge announced he will end his 21 years of Air Force service and retire on July 1. Colonel Cohen has most recently heard evidence in a set of hearings on the defences' request to exclude evidence gathered from F.B.I. interrogations from the trial. It is unclear if jury selection, set for January 2021, will still go ahead.


U.S. National Parks Closed to Ensure Social Distancing

The National Park Service announced that Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the Great Smoky Mountains would be closed immediately to prevent the spread of the virus. After officials reported a surge in visitors last week, they are now citing concerns about crowding and requests from public health authorities for the closure.


Racial Divide in Speech Recognition Systems

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that technology from Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft misidentified 35% of words from people who were black, versus 19% of the time when the speaker was white. The study offers a cautionary sign for AI technologies and bias in speech recognition systems.


Recommendation to Congress Says All Americans, Including Women, Would Have to Register in Case of Military Draft

The recommendation is part of a national commissions report on whether the U.S. should have a military draft, and if so, should it include women. Women now make up 17% of active-duty troops. Commissioners said that expanding the registration process to women in the event of a draft is a "necessary and fair step."


Bloomberg Campaign Aides Sue for Pay and Benefits

Former organizers have sued the campaign, saying that they were laid off during a pandemic, after the campaign promised them pay and benefits through the November election. There are two proposed class action lawsuits, potentially representing thousands of workers.


U.S. Charges Venezuelan Leader Maduro with Drug Trafficking

Federal prosecutors accuse Maduro of participating in a narco-terrorism and international cocaine trafficking conspiracy. The State Department is offering a $15 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Attorney General Barr declined to say whether the U.S. would seek to extradite Maduro. More than a dozen other government and intelligence officials were also charged.


U.S. Cuts Health Care Aid to Yemen

The Trump administration cited interference by Houthi rebels as the reason for withdrawing the aid. Humanitarian groups called on the U.S. to delay the decision given concerns about the pandemic spreading in Yemen, which is currently in the midst of a civil war.


U.S. Cuts $1 Billion in Aid to Afghanistan

American officials announced $1 billion in immediate aid reductions. In a public address, President Ghani said that the cuts would not affect central functions, but other senior officials expressed concern that cutting crucial funding would start an unraveling of government and security forces. The country depends on foreign aid not only to pay its basic expenses, but also to fund its war against the Taliban.


China and Russia Sow Disinformation, Blame U.S. For Coronavirus

There has been no shortage of conspiracy theories of where the virus originated. China is casting the pandemic in a dramatically new light, assisted by Kremlin-backed websites spreading propaganda. These actions come after China was heavily criticized for first refusing to acknowledge the emergence of a novel pathogen and downplaying the spread.

The Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto lab that investigates digital censorship, among other things, reported that China "broadly censored coronavirus-related content and expanded the scope of censorship in February 2020. Censored content included criticism of government ... references to Dr. Li Wenliang, and neutral references to Chinese government efforts on handling the outbreak." The Citizen Lab found that censorship rules blocked "messages that include names for the virus or sources of information about it," "potentially limiting the public's ability to access information that may be essential to their health and safety."



U.K. Leader Boris Johnson Has Contracted Coronavirus

The British Prime Minister said that he will continue to lead the country's response to the pandemic from isolation and called on people to work from home and comply with other social distancing measures. Earlier in the week, Germany's Angela Merkel tested negative.


Sacrificing Privacy for Coronavirus Surveillance

To contain the pandemic and enforce social distancing rules, some countries have turned to mobile phone location data to see how well people are complying with government lockdown orders. They are also deploying other digital surveillance tools, like location tracking and facial recognition, technologies that civil liberties experts say can be repurposed to further political agendas. Health data disclosures also pose risks to patients' personal health information, as was the case of the Westchester County man referred to as patient zero.


India Places 1.3 Billion People Under Three-Week Lockdown

India's residents were given four hours' notice by the Prime Minister and are now on a 21-day lockdown to help control the spread of the coronavirus. Given its population density and weak public health care system, its government is worried than a widely spread infection would be disastrous.


Climate Change Has Ravaged Large Sections of the Great Barrier Reef

Scientists have found that large sections of Australia's Great Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles, are now dead. The northern sections were killed last year by overheated seawater. The southern sections are bleaching, which is a potential precursor to losing them as well. The resulting loss of food supply from reef fish could become a humanitarian crisis.


Emergency Grants and Funds - From Cultured Magazine

Below is a list of emergency grants and donation-based funds that may be available to our clients in the arts, entertainment, and small business fields, from Cultured Magazine:


Artist & Activist Relief Fund

It's right in the name: this donation-based fund for small stipends by The Soze Agency is specifically for artists and activists--especially those with children, debt, and medical bills. Round one just passed; $37,500 was given to 143 artists and activists nationwide. Apply for--or donate to!--round two at the link above and also sign up here to receive The Soze Assist, a newsletter of helpful articles and resources.

Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund

Established by the Arts Administrators of Color Network, folks can donate here in direct support of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists and administrators, which the fund defines as "consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal/temporary employees, etc," impacted by COVID-19. On this same page is an application form to apply for available funds generated by the open call for donations.

Behind The Scenes

Behind the Scenes offers grants to workers and artists in the entertainment tech industry--those working behind the scenes or cameras in performance venues or on the road--who are dealing with serious illnesses or injuries. They are currently accepting applications from anyone who's been hospitalized with COVID-19 and is in financial need.

CERF+ COVID-19 Response Fund

CERF+, the Craft Emergency Relief Fund--which provides relief loans through their own grants--just launched the COVID-19 Response Fund for artists working in craft disciplines. Emergency grant relief will focus on those infected with the virus and who require intensive medical care.

COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks

This donation-based fund, organized by Amita Swadhin with Treva Ellison, Natalie Havlin, Carrie Hawks, Ren-yo Hwang, and Alisa Zipursky, will disperse funds in a rolling jubilee--allocating money to applicants as donations are raised. For the second round of donations, priority goes to Black, Indigenous, disabled, chronically ill, transgender or non-binary folks, as well as sex workers or those who are not employed full-time, not eligible for paid sick leave, or on the cusp of losing housing. More details at the link above; apply to receive funding, donate if you can, and share with others.

Dance/NYC COVID-19 Dance Relief Fund

Dedicated to mitigating the impact of COVID-19, Dance/NYC invites freelance dance workers and organizations in the NYC area to apply for funding, with special priority given to communities most affected by the virus--including African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American, disabled, immigrant, and women-identifying artists, and, they note, "those at high risk, including elderly and immunosuppressed artists."

Disabled Creator and Activist Pandemic Relief

Volunteers are currently collecting information to organize a relief fund in support of disabled creators and activists who've lost sales due to COVID-19. Fill out the form at the link above if you're interested in staying up-to-date or receiving funding (it seems initial funds will come from telecommuted events featuring the applicants and organized by the volunteers).

Emergency COVID Relief for Sex Workers in New York

Organized by the Brooklyn chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, this is another donation-based fund, geared to support those whose needs are compounded by stigma. As of March 16, there was a slowdown in donations; we're sharing here to continue promoting the growth of funds.

The Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund

The donation-based Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund will assist musicians whose gigs and events were cancelled due to COVID-19. If you're a musician who can be paid legally in the US, you're eligible to apply (the fund will not cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

There will be delay in the distribution of funds, given the overwhelming requests for assistance.

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Foundation will be distributing $1,000 grants to experimental artists who can demonstrate that their exhibitions or performances were cancelled due to the pandemic. Applicants must be individual artists (even if they are representing a larger collective); curators, producers, presenters and organizations are not eligible.

Additionally, if you have ever received a non-emergency grant from the Foundation in the past three years, their usual three-year waiting period has been suspended, and you may apply again for a grant.

Florida Artist COVID-19 Relief Fund

This new fundraiser is currently in need of donations to be distributed to applicants; artists who either live or were born in the state of Florida are eligible. Apply to receive funds upon donation at the link above.

Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund

This fund is designed for freelancers affected by COVID-19 and its impact (school closures, client cancellations, medical expenses, inability to pay basic living expenses). They stress that applicants ask for what they need right now--not in the long-term--and to try and pay it forward by eventually contributing back to the fund or another charity supporting freelancers. Applications are on a rolling basis; donations needed.

NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund

Shawn Escarciga and Nadia Tykulsker, two New York City-based artists, administrators, and advocates, are raising money in support of low-income BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer freelancers and artists affected by COVID-19. While this donation-based fund is on pause as they continue to build momentum, they are, in the meantime, donating up to $150 to previous applicants. Until funds are replenished for new applicants, please donate if you're able, or share with someone who can!

Oolite Arts Relief Fund for COVID-19

Utilizing repurposed funds from cancelled programming, this fund for Miami-Dade artists will provide up to $500 in relief to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted through April 16, 2020; the fund launches with $25,000 in seed funding, and intends to cover lost income due to the cancellation of employment (of any sort) and artistic opportunities.

PEN America Writers' Emergency Fund

PEN America will distribute grants between $500-$1,000 to applicants based on acute financial need, especially due to the pandemic. Applicants must be a professional writer and "be able to demonstrate that a small, one-time grant will be meaningful in helping them to address an emergency situation." They stress that the fund is limited, though it applies to both fiction and non-fiction writers, journalists, poets, playwrights, screenwriters and translators.

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants

In partnership with the New York Foundation for the Arts, Rauschenberg Emergency Grants will provide one-time grants (of up to $5,000) to visual and media artists and choreographers for unexpected medical emergencies. Such emergencies include hospital or doctor bills, prescription medications for emergency medical conditions, emergency dental work, tests, and physical or occupational therapy. While this grant isn't COVID-19-specific, it's worth applying if your health has been directly affected by the virus.
If you need funding soon, please keep in mind applicants for this grant will be reviewed beginning in late May/early June.

COVID-19 Fund at Sweet Relief

The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund already supports musicians in need; in light of COVID-19, this specific and limited fund will be utilized for musicians and music industry workers affected by the virus. Funds are intended to go toward medical bills, food and other essential expenses; applicants must provide proof of cancellations and bookings.

Additional Resources: A Quick List

Artwork Archive - Financial Relief Resources for Artists During COVID-19

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources

The Fountainhead Residency - Resources for Artists

Freelance Advocacy Project

This growing platform--created by a group of independent workers--is currently focusing its efforts on aggregating resources, building action toward a rent freeze and advocating for vulnerable communities.

Handheld Handmade - Resources for Emergency Relief for Artists and Creators During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I Care If You Listen - COVID-19 Emergency Funding and Artist Resources

New York Foundation for the Arts - Emergency Grants

Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation

South Florida COVID-19 Local Resources

United States Bartenders' Guild

WomenArts - Emergency Funds

Additional Financial Coronovirus Resources

Contributed by Marc Jacobson



April 5, 2020

From the Copyright Office - Temporary Relief for Claims with Physical Deposits


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Library of Congress buildings are closed to the public, and the U.S. Copyright Office has implemented extended telework requirements to reduce the number of onsite staff. To mitigate the effect of this temporary closure on the examination of electronic applications accompanied by physical deposits, the Office is establishing the following interim rules:

For Applications Filed before April 2, 2020

The Office may contact applicants who have filed an electronic application for which a physical deposit copy has been submitted and received by the Office to offer the applicant the option of providing an additional electronic copy of the work so the Office can examine the claim remotely. This process is only available when the registration specialist assigned to the claim contacts the applicant, offers the option, and enables the upload function to allow for an upload to be associated with the application.

If the applicant agrees to use this option, the applicant must submit both an electronic deposit copy and a declaration form, under penalty of perjury, stating that the electronic copy is identical to the physical copy previously submitted. This document may be uploaded in the same manner as the electronic deposit copy. The registration specialist assigned to the claim will send a declaration form to the applicant and will provide the applicant with instructions for uploading the completed declaration and the deposit to the appropriate claim.

If the applicant cannot, or prefers not to, submit an electronic copy of the deposit, the Office will examine the claim once registration specialists resume in-Office examination. Although examination of the claim will be delayed, the effective date of registration will generally be the date that the Office received the application, fee, and physical deposit.

For Applications Filed on or after April 2, 2020

For newly submitted electronic applications for published works that require the submission of "best edition" physical copies of the deposit, the applicant will have the option of uploading an electronic copy of the work in addition to mailing the required physical copies. Applicants who use this option must submit both an electronic deposit copy and a declaration form, under penalty of perjury, stating that the electronic copy is identical to the required physical copies that the applicant will mail to the Office together with the shipping slip generated in eCO. Applicants may use the declaration form provided here. This document may be uploaded in the same manner as the electronic deposit copy. If an applicant decides to use this option, registration specialists will be able to examine the claim remotely once they receive the application, fee, electronic deposit copy, and declaration.

If the applicant cannot, or prefers not to, submit an electronic copy of the deposit, the Office will examine the claim once registration specialists resume in-Office examination. Although examination of the claim will be delayed, the effective date of registration will generally be the date that the Office received the application, fee, and physical deposits.


For applicants filing electronic applications for which physical copies are not required to be submitted, the Office strongly encourages the submission of electronic deposits.

USPTO Announces Extension of Certain Patent and Trademark-Related Timing Deadlines Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

From the USPTO:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced on March 31 extensions to the time allowed to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees. These actions are an exercise of temporary authority provided to the USPTO by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27.

"Inventors and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy, and we recognize that many of them are having difficulty as a result of the effects of COVID-19," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu. "As a result, we are working to provide as much relief as possible to our stakeholders, consistent with our ability to maintain the USPTO's fee-funded operations. We are especially mindful of the outsized impact on small businesses and independent inventors, and have provided additional relief for these groups. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure not only that inventors and entrepreneurs can weather the storm, but that they can hit the ground running once it passes."

The USPTO has made operational adjustments to keep its employees and the public safe as it remains open for business. In-person meetings, such as hearings and examiner interviews, are being conducted virtually by phone and video until further notice.

Read more details in the official Patent and Trademark notices on our website. The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around COVID-19 and the impact on the USPTO's operations and stakeholders.

Patent-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed by email to Covid19PatentsRelief@uspto.gov and by telephone to the Office of Patent Legal Administration at (571) 272-7704 or (571) 272-7703 for reexamination.

PTAB-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to (571) 272-9797 or by email at Trials@uspto.gov (for AIA trials), PTAB_Appeals_Suggestions@uspto.gov (for PTAB appeals) or InterferenceTrialSection@uspto.gov (for interferences).

Trademark-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to the Trademark Office of Petitions by telephone at (571) 272-8950 or by e-mail at TMPolicy@uspto.gov.

TTAB-related inquiries concerning this notice may be directed to Cheryl Butler at (571) 272-4259 or Cheryl.Butler@uspto.gov or to Denise DelGizzi at (571) 272-4265 or Denise.DelGizzi@uspto.gov.

Stay current with the USPTO by subscribing to receive email updates at our Subscription Center at www.uspto.gov/subscribe.

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:


As Theaters Stare Down Uncertainty, Ars Nova Buys Itself Time

With many theaters uncertain about their future, the Ars Nova company has committed to paying its workers for three months, in a move that "gives itself breathing room to prepare for when it can open again." Ars Nova is taking the risk that it will be able to survive the shutdown, but it has long been a launchpad for careers including those of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Annie Baker, and Billy Eichner.



A Fight Over Money and Loyalty and Who is to Credit for an Artist's Rise

A little-known art student at Hunter College, Derek Fordjour, became famous about six years ago when his paintings began to be collected by the likes of Michael Ovitz and Beyonce. The gallery that worked with Fordjour before his rise to fame, the Robert Blumenthal Gallery, has sued him, saying that he owes the gallery seven additional works based on a contract that they entered into for him to produce 20 works in exchange for $20,000. Given Fordjour's meteoric rise in the industry, the gallery is now saying that, in lieu of the seven pieces he promised, it would accept no less than $1.45 million.


They Were Meant to Be the Season's Big Books. Then the Virus Struck

Last year, the publishing industry began to plan its schedule of releases, and because the presidential election is slated for November, many of the releases that were expected to be hits were moved up from the fall to the spring. However, with the coronavirus pandemic, publishers are now pushing back the releases of books to summer and fall, hoping that bookstores will reopen by then and that authors will be able to tour the country and promote their books.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art Tells Staff It Is Extending Pay Until May 2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which has struggled to deal with declining revenues, has announced that it will extend paying its staff through May 2 despite its closure due to the coronavirus. The museum has also announced that it may make up for its declining revenues by dipping into its $3.6 billion endowment.


National Gallery of Art Returns Picasso Work to Settle Claim

The National Gallery of Art has returned the Pablo Picasso work, "Head of a Woman," to the heirs of a "prominent German-Jewish banker who was persecuted by the Nazis." The work had been sold to a dealer in 1934, and the National Gallery subsequently acquired the work as a donation in 2001.


Early van Gogh Painting Stolen From Dutch Museum

A heist at the town of Laren, 20 miles from Amsterdam, has resulted in a Vincent van Gogh painting, "The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring," being stolen. The police received an alarm and arrived at the museum to find that a glass door had been shattered and that the painting was the only work missing. The painting had been a loan from the Groninger Museum, and the museum from which it was stolen had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.



2020 Olympics Postponed to 2021

After weeks of avoiding an announcement, the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be postponed to most likely July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is an extraordinary move, as the only Olympics Games to have been cancelled were in 1916, 1940, and 1944, and they have not previously been postponed. As part of the postponement, $200 million in funding that would have gone to pay for the living and training expenses of American athletes is not set to arrive until next August.



Coronavirus Pandemic Hobbles World Antidoping Efforts

The coronavirus pandemic has "presented an extraordinary opportunity: Enforcers for the time being are not going to knock on their doors demanding a urine or blood sample" in relation to antidoping efforts. Ordinarily, antidoping officials would be collecting samples from athletes, "gathering intelligence, meeting with whistle blowers, or working in labs to try to find testing techniques that will put them one step ahead of the cheaters." It is expected that the testing hiatus will last for several weeks, which could "wreak havoc on efforts to control illicit performance enhancement."


FIFA Plans Huge Emergency Fund to Support Ailing Soccer Industry

FIFA is planning to tap into its $2.7 billion cash reserve to create "an emergency fund to support the ailing soccer industry" to deal with the mounting "concerns and daily updates about the crisis wrought by the coronavirus pandemic on the global soccer industry." The fund, if global soccer leaders approve it, "would amount to the biggest response from any major sports governing body to the financial impact of the pandemic."


Idaho Is First State to Bar Some Transgender Athletes

Governor of Idaho Brad Little signed a bill called the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, which "prohibits transgender people from changing their birth certificates to match their gender identities." By signing the bill, the governor makes Idaho the "first state in the United States to bar transgender girls from participating in girls' and women's sports and to legalize the practice of asking girls and women to undergo sex testing in order to compete." While other states have had their legislatures introduce bills to restrict the ability of transgender athletes to participate in sports, Idaho becomes the first to pass such legislation into law.


NCAA Allows Extra Year of Eligibility for Athletes in Curtailed Spring Sports

Last week, the NCAA Division I Council voted to open the door to another year of eligibility for all spring-sport athletes, whose seasons were cut short by the coronavirus outbreak. There are conditions, however: an athlete may be able to return depending on each university's decisions, which will be weighed by "how much scholarship aid to offer and whether to apply for an individual to receive an NCAA waiver allowing an additional season." This policy is set to apply to "baseball, softball, golf, tennis, lacrosse, track and field, beach volleyball, and rowing."


How Skiing Through a Pandemic Can Create a Community Crisis

In response to the coronavirus, North American ski resorts have closed, but mountain sports have continued to draw large crowds, to the alarm of public safety officials. Skiers and snowboarders have gathered in "backcountry trails or to slopes", which are not expressly forbidden, but have prompted public officials to implore "skiers and snowboarders to scale back" based on the risk of spreading the virus, the increased threat of avalanches, and the potential for medical resources to be diverted from the pandemic.


A Tennis Coach Was Abusing Minors. Should the Sport's Federation Have Known?

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has long claimed that it was capable of policing itself, and thus, in 2014, when the United States Olympic Committee proposed a new initiative to "protect athletes from abusers," the USTA objected to having a "single mandatory national entity" overseeing cases. Months prior to that, a Bay Area USTA coach was arrested for "a second time on charges of abusing one of his teenage players," and he would continue to coach for the following three years until a player worked with police and recorded the coach admitting to having sex with a minor. While the coach is now serving a 255-year prison sentence, there is no record that the USTA took any action against the coach.


No Live Sports on TV? Consumers Want a Refund

Customers who have subscribed to services that have broken out fees for sports channels have begun asking their providers: Why are we footing the bill for services we are not receiving? While sports channels continue to be on air, they are simply replaying previous games or questioning what effect the coronavirus will have on restarting or canceling seasons for sports around the world.


Caesars in U.K. Is Fined for Allowing Problem Gamblers to Keep Betting

Britain's gambling authorities "have ordered Caesars Entertainment to pay a record fine of $16 million for failing to prevent money laundering and for allowing people with gambling problems to lose huge amounts over repeated visits to its casinos." The Gambling Commission had investigated 11 casinos in Britain and found that "systemic failings in the way the company dealt with high-spending, frequent customers" was causing the outcome.



How Much Should the Public Know About Who Has the Coronavirus?

The coronavirus pandemic has brought to light the "perennial tug-of-war between privacy and transparency in the United States", with privacy appearing "to be winning." There are significant questions surrounding the pandemic, such as which cities have patients, with whom those patients came into contact, and what clinics or locations that patient visited before he or she knew he or she was infected. In many countries, such as India and other countries that are typically referred to as autocracies, the flow of information has been tightened. In India, when a newscaster was prepared to deliver the latest news about the pandemic, the station was cut off by order of India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and blocked the channel for the following 48 hours.



New York Attorney General Looks Into Zoom's Privacy Practices

With the videoconferencing platform Zoom surging in popularity as millions of Americans are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, its privacy practices have come under scrutiny. New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced that she is investigating "what, if any, new security measures the company has put in place to handle increased traffic on its network and to detect hackers." The company has faced criticism in being "slow to address security flaws such as vulnerabilities 'that could enable malicious third parties to, among other things, gain surreptitious access to consumer webcams,'" and it has also faced scrutiny for pulling data from people's LinkedIn accounts and using that data within its own platform. The platform has also "become a target for harassment and abuse coordinated in private off-platform chats."





Facebook Aims $100 Million at Media Hit by the Coronavirus

Facebook has announced that it will give $25 million in grants to "local news outlets and spend $75 million in a marketing drive aimed at news organizations internationally in response to the coronavirus-prompted economic downturn, which has caused advertising to plummet and has threatened media industry revenues." Many "alt-weeklies" have had significant layoffs, and there have been pay and hour cuts as "advertising has dropped sharply" since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic "despite huge interest in news that has led to traffic surges and a rise in digital subscription sign-ups."


Coronavirus Likely to Hasten End of Advertising-Driven Media: New York Times Columnist

It is expected that the coronavirus will hasten the end of "advertising-driven media," and it is the opinion of a New York Times columnist that the "government should not rescue" those media companies. The biggest newspaper chain in the country, Gannett, is worth a "mere $261 million" but is difficult to sell to others because it has high-interest loans owed to a "giant New York private equity firm and relying on an advertising business model that may be in its death throes because of the coronavirus."



Pakistani Court Overturns Conviction in 2002 Killing of Daniel Pearl

A court in Pakistan has ruled that there was "sufficient evidence to convict Ahmed Omar Sheikh of abducting" the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, "but not of killing him." Pearl was abducted in 2002 in Karachi while working on an article about Pakistani militant groups and was later killed, and with the court's latest move, the four men who were connected with his abduction and killing are either released or expected to be released in the near future.


Myanmar Journalists Who Quoted Rebel Spokesman Face Arrest

Authorities in Myanmar have begun a "new crackdown on free speech" by arresting "a prominent editor on terrorism charges for publishing an interview with a rebel army spokesman, and on Friday," authorities announced that they will be charging two more editors with similar crimes. Journalists and human rights activists have denounced the actions as "an attempt to reinstate authoritarian measures" at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has dominated headlines.


Prince Harry and Meghan Scale Down Royal P.R. Machine

Last week, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan "would down their popular social media sites and transferred the management of their image and philanthropy to a new team of advisers in Los Angeles." It is the latest move in their journey to "step back" from their duties as members of the British royal family. They have said that they prefer for attention to "remain fixed on the coronavirus pandemic" rather than the latest developments related to them which have "commanded breathless headlines."


General News

Coronavirus Continues to Ravage the United States and World

The United States and the New York City metropolitan area have become the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic, as the country's total reported cases now exceed 310,000 and total deaths pass 9,100. Forty-one states throughout the country have had their governors issue stay-at-home orders, but nine states have refused to follow suit, despite warnings from top officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who, given his prominent position and his persistence in correcting statements made by the Trump administration, has had to have additional security assigned to him, given conspiracy theories that he is attempting to undermine the federal response to the pandemic. The federal response has come under fire for being insufficient; first as being too slow and later for not being forceful enough. While the federal government has deployed two ships to California and New York to serve as hospitals, governors and hospitals have called for additional protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and ventilators, and while the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act, it hesitated in requiring companies to change their production to equipment. The Trump administration came under fire when the son-in-law of President Trump, Jared Kushner, appeared to take a leadership role in the response to the pandemic and then announced that the federal stockpile of protective equipment was meant to be for the federal government; not for states who may require equipment.

Abroad, shutdowns have become ubiquitous. From India to Russia, governments have taken a strong stance, and critics have observed that those governments that leaned toward autocracy have only become more emboldened by the pandemic as they seek to tamp down panic and control the media coverage within their countries. In Iran, some have found that the sanctions imposed on the country have led to additional deaths, and in Brazil, the government has continued to doubt the impact of the virus. Throughout the world, there remain populations that are extraordinarily in danger should the virus pervade, including the refugee camps that remain in Syria.

As domestic businesses suffer given the requirement coming from governors that they shutter, concern grows about the depth and length of the recession that follows. With the number of unemployment claims filing to unprecedented levels, 10 million in two weeks, economists have questioned how quickly the recovery will be once the pandemic ends. Even with the stimulus package signed into law, small businesses have found that obtaining loans has not yet been as easy as hoped, and for the restaurant industry, there remain questions as to whether it will ever look the same, as small restaurants, particularly in New York City, operate on the thinnest of margins during normal times. Some have looked to the stimulus model from Germany for inspiration as to how the stimulus should have been administered in the United States, as it appears to have delivered help more quickly and efficiently than that currently underway via the Department of Treasury. Regardless, Congress and an oversight panel will be serving roles similar to that taken in relation to the 2008 stimulus package with regular reports as to who is receiving funding from the stimulus and when. Businesses such as Amazon, Target, and Instacart have had workers strike or threaten to strike to obtain more protections in their working as the online retailing continues to explode.

With the number of cases certain to keep growing in the coming weeks, particularly on a state-by-state basis, as new hot spots for the virus become known, the response within the United States continues to be reliant on consistent testing, which has been another point of criticism about the Trump administration's response. Although the CIA continues to analyze the data that it can obtain from the actual numbers in China, which are certain to be higher than those reported in media sources, there remain significant questions not about how far below the actual number of cases the United States is but the magnitude of that underreporting. While the CDC has vowed that there will no longer be a testing shortage and that the number of tests within the country is analogous to South Korea at the outset of its dealing with the virus outbreak, the CDC has acknowledged that it will be several weeks before testing becomes ubiquitous.

Below are links to specific reporting from the past week relating to the coronavirus pandemic:



































































U.S. to Announce Rollback of Auto Pollution Rules

It is expected that the Trump administration will announce a final rule to roll back "Obama-era automobile fuel efficiency standards, relaxing efforts to limit climate-warming tailpipe pollution and virtually undoing the government's biggest effort to combat climate change." The new rule would allow vehicles "to emit nearly a billion tons more carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the vehicles than they would have under the Obama standards and hundreds of millions of tons more than will be emitted under standards being implemented in Europe and Asia."



Supreme Court Postpones April Oral Arguments Over Coronavirus

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Supreme Court has postponed oral arguments scheduled for April and "is considering alternative options for handling the various outstanding cases." The Court's term is set to end in June, and the Court is set to issue rulings online today. The Court's spokeswoman said that the nine justices remain healthy.


Trump Picks McConnell Protege for Influential Appeals Court Seat

Justin Walker, a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has been a favorite of conservatives, and Friday, President Trump nominated him to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, despite the American Bar Association rating Walker as unqualified. Walker has served "for less than six months as a United States District Court judge in Kentucky."


Problems in FBI Wiretap Applications Go Beyond Trump Aide Surveillance

An inspector general in the FBI has found that there were "pervasive problems in the FBI's preparation of wiretap applications." The audit "revealed a broader pattern of sloppiness by the FBI in seeking permission to use powerful tools to eavesdrop on American soil in national security cases," and the report has been released while Congress is debating whether to add new limits to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.


Trump Proceeds With Post-Impeachment Purge Amid Pandemic

President Trump fired the intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson, who had forwarded a whistle-blower complaint last year to Congress that prompted Congress to open its impeachment inquiry. President Trump spoke to reporters, saying that Atkinson "took a fake report and he brought it to Congress," making him a "total disgrace" to inspector generals.


Records in 1946 Lynching Case Must Remain Sealed, Court Rules

The Moore's Ford lynchings have long cast a pall in rural Georgia, as they occurred in 1946, and to date no one has ever been charged in killing the two black couples who were lynched. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a federal judge cannot unseal the grand jury records "except for a limited set of circumstances governing grand jury rules of secrecy"m which reverses the lower court's 2017 finding that the evidence should be unsealed.


The Growing Culture of Secrecy at Guantanamo Bay

The national security court at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has been known for its opacity since its inception, but recent developments indicate that it is only becoming more opaque: during a recent hearing, the defense lawyers found that prosecutors were using a wireless silver tablet computer to communicate directly with representatives from the CIA to ensure that there was no accidental "disclosure of classified information." The judge had privately approved the use of the tablet via a secret order and regretted that he had not disclosed that order to the defense, but nonetheless stood by his decision to do so. This comes after government censors have redacted significant portions of public hearing transcripts, anonymous testimony has been permitted, and soldiers have been permitted to take their "name tapes off their Army uniforms when on the courtroom premises."


Rabbi Dies Three Months After Hanukkah Night Attack

Rabbi Josef Neumann, who was attacked in December in an anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, has succumbed to his injuries. The incident had shocked the New York area as it came after a string of anti-Semitic attacks, and four others were hospitalized with serious injuries, all of whom "quickly recovered."


A Prominent Former Neo-Nazi for Decades Now Says He Wants to Help Destroy It

Jeff Schoep, a man who had called the infamous Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist rally "a glorious day for white solidarity in America," has now renounced his views and is speaking publicly against the neo-Nazi organizations that he led for two and a half decades. While civil rights experts "have said reformed neo-Nazis should use their outsize influence to draw others away from white nationalism" and others not as well-known as Schoep have attempted to do so, it remains unclear the path that a former neo-Nazi should take in defeating "the resurgence of open bigotry tearing at the country's social fabric."


JPMorgan Announces New Diversity Push

JPMorgan Chase has announced that it will "make diversity training mandatory for all employees" in the wake of a New York Times report documenting instances of racism at its Arizona branches. The December article showed that a black employee and black customer struggled to "gain access to the same opportunities as their white peers" at Chase locations. The bank also announced that it would "expand the recruiting team" that is dedicated to diversifying hirees.


U.N. Security Council 'Missing in Action' During Coronavirus Fight

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has called the pandemic the most challenging crisis since the organization's founding in the wake of World War II, but the Security Council has remained "conspicuously silent." Although Guterres has called for action to be taken in halting armed conflicts around the world so that countries can focus their resources on the pandemic, the Security Council, the body that can vote to coerce through military or economic means, has disregarded Guterres' call thus far.


E.U. Court Rules That Three Countries Violated Deal on Refugee Quotas

The European Court of Justice has found that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have "violated their obligations by refusing to take in their fair share of asylum seekers at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015." The ruling came as the European Union had agreed to distribute 160,000 asylum seekers and the trio of countries refused to participate in the relocation of refugees and therefore placed more pressure on Italy and Greece to manage the high volume of new arrivals at that time and continuing to 2017 when the relocation program lapsed.


April 6, 2020

New York Foundation for the Arts List of Emergency Grants


New York Foundation for the Arts often receives calls from artists requesting information on emergency grants to serve financial need or an emergency such as bereavement or illness. Please check the organizations' websites or call to get the latest programmatic information and eligibility requirements. Scroll down for discipline-specific resources.


4 Culture Cultural Relief Fund (King County, WA) - Grants up to $2,000 are available for emergencies related to the COVID-19 virus and to support the creative responses cultural workers offer in times of crisis.

American Documentary Artist Emergency Fund - This COVID-19 Artist Emergency Fund will provide rapid response grants up to $500 to assist artists with basic needs including food, immediate health needs and insurance premiums. Artist must demonstrate need and a professional relationship to documentary filmmaking.

Artist + Activist Relief Fund - This fund, created by The Soze Foundation, TaskForce and Invisible Hand, will support artists and activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. Currently not accepting new applications; artists may join a waiting list should more funds become available.

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund - The Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund is intended to help those pursuing careers as artists or arts administrators whose income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund (Illinois) - A statewide effort that provides financial relief to artists and arts organizations with urgent need due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through AIRF, 3Arts will issue $1,500 unrestricted, one-time grants to as many eligible artists as possible, given the total funding available.

Arts Greensboro Emergency Relief Fund (Greensboro, NC) - For any artist in need of support due to cancellations from the outbreak of COVID-19. This fund is a money-in, money-out fund. ArtsGreensboro will disperse funds weekly, based on the amount donated. This fund is directed to working artists, not organizations or nonprofits.

Artist Relief Project - Anyone pursuing the arts as a career (any discipline, any level of experience) can request financial support from the Artist Relief Project, which will provide applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis with a one-time emergency stipend of $200 and free resources and support to pursue alternative economic opportunities.

Artist Relief Tree - A relief fund for artists affected by cancellations due to COVID-19. Disbursements are currently on hold while the organization seeks more funds, but you may join a waitlist.

The Atlanta Artist Lost Gig Fund (Atlanta, GA) - This fund is open to arts workers of ANY discipline including arts administrators, visual artists, craft artisans, performing artists of all kinds, musicians, writers, and all others. You must have documentation of your agreement for work (contract, email agreement, etc.) and documentation of the cancellation during the time of the COVID-19 crisis in order to apply (email stating such from contractor, etc.).

Behind the Scenes Grant - Behind the Scenes will accept applications from anyone who has been hospitalized with Covid-19 and is in financial need. You may be eligible for a grant if you currently reside in the United States or Canada and have earned your living for at least five years in the entertainment technology industry. This means that your major source of income is from your work in this industry, which includes being directly involved with production: behind the scenes in any type of performance venue, or behind the camera, or on the road. It also includes working companies who are directly involved in supplying entertainment technology products and services such as dealers, manufacturers, production companies, consultants, and design firms. Performing artists are not eligible.

Boston Music Maker Relief Fund (Boston, MA) - The Record Co. has established a fund to provide financial relief to Boston area music makers experiencing lost income as the result of performance cancellations related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to $200 will be paid rapidly on a first come, first served basis to affected artists and groups.

Boston Singers' Relief Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief (Boston, MA) - The Boston Singers' Relief Fund is offering a streamlined application process for grants up to $500. New England-based singers whose classical performances were cancelled due to concerns over COVID-19 are eligible to apply.

Bridgesong Fund (Western Massachusetts) - Emergency relief for western MA women, nonbinary, and genderqueer artists of color.

Cambridge Artist Relief Fund (Cambridge, MA) - Focused on lost income, current and into the foreseeable future, the Fund will provide one-time relief to arts organizations and artists who live, work, create, and/or perform in Cambridge. Only one grant per applicant is allowed.

CCI San Francisco Arts & Artists Relief Fund (San Francisco, CA) - An emergency relief fund to mitigate COVID-19 related financial losses that artists and small to mid-size arts and culture organizations have suffered.

Chicago Theatre Workers Relief Fund (Chicago, IL) - This Fund is intended to help replace lost income due to theatre closures. The Fund is available to all those who have had to stop work and are not getting paid, including those who were on contract, part-time employees and those working on a stipend that was not paid. Chicago area theatre professionals may apply for a grant of $500 on a first-come first-served basis.

City of Boston Artist Relief Fund (Boston, MA) - The Boston Artist Relief Fund will award grants of $500 and $1,000 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) - Arts Emergency Relief Fund (Los Angeles, CA) -This program provides emergency relief grants to City of Los Angeles-based dance, music, and theatre artists, as well as small ensembles who have had their public performances, shows, or concerts cancelled. Solo artists are eligible for up to $400 and ensembles up to $1,200 to cover losses in time and/or materials that were committed toward events, which were to have taken place at a venue within the City of Los Angeles and were to be open to the general public.

The Colorado Artist Relief Fund (Colorado) -The fund will continue to provide grants of up to $1,000 to individual artists who live in Colorado who are experiencing immediate unforeseen emergency needs due to COVID-19, and whose incomes are being adversely affected due to cancellation of events, classes, performances, and other creative work. Grants will be made on a rolling basis.

Corona Arts Relief for Bexar County Artists, Texas (Bexar County, TX) - Luminaria and the City of San Antonio's Department of Arts & Culture announce the Corona Arts Relief fund, which provides technical and professional development support for individual artists during the national CORONA / COVID-19 pandemic. This funding stream offers support for lost revenue or for the opportunity to engage in professional development. The program will be paused after April 3, 2020 in order to match applicants with sufficient resources.

COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund (Washington State) - The COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund provides rapid response grants supporting critical needs of artists whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19. The grant is open to individual artists of all disciplines residing in Washington State.

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources - An aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.

Creative Catalyst Fund (Newark, NJ) - Grants to support the creative practice of artists who have shown exceptional creative ability and commitment to social impact through their work. Awarded funds may be used to cover any expenses related to the artist's practice, including but not limited to rent for studio/rehearsal space, supplies or equipment, or costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. There is no matching requirement.

Creative Industry Relief Fund (Fort Worth, TX) - Hear Fort Worth and Film Fort Worth with assistance from United Way of Tarrant County have established a creative industry relief fund to help support musicians, artists, performers and filmmakers who have lost work due to COVID-19.

The Creator Fund - Providing financial assistance to active creators who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. If you have medical, childcare, housing, or grocery needs, please apply for assistance.

Crosshatch Artist Emergency Fund (Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau Counties, MI) - Funding for individual artists (not non-profits or institutions) who earn 33% or more of their income from their art, and who have lost income because of COVID-19 related cancellations.

Culture Connects Coalition (Santa Fe, NM) - Culture Connects Coalition is a fund to support arts and culture in all their expressions. In response to COVID-19 pandemic and to reduce its greater impact on the community, they have partnered with Lannan Foundation to form the Artist Relief Fund to help those artists most dramatically affected.

Dallas Artist Relief Fund (Dallas, TX) - Provides support for low-income, BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Dallas.

Dance/NYC Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund (New York City)- The purpose of the funding initiative is to mitigate the growing impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak on individual freelance dance workers and dance making organizations based in the metropolitan New York City area, particularly financial losses incurred due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the social restriction measures implemented to contain the disease. Applications currently closed and will reopen on April 10.

The Dance Union Podcast NYC Dancers Relief Fund (COVID-19) (New York City) - This Fund will offer urgent relief to freelance dance artist that have suffered financial losses due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the government enforced social restrictions.

Dietl Art Handlers Assistance - Due to COVID-19 many art technicians are unemployed and in need of financial support. These technicians are often artists. Dietl has created a platform to show these artists' work to be purchased directly from their studios.

Durham Artist Relief Fund (Durham, NC) - Providing assistance to artists and arts presenters in Durham who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists.

Emergency Funds for Undocumented Youth and Families During COVID-19 (New York, NY) - This emergency fund is to support New York City undocumented youth and families whose livelihoods are being affected by COVID-19. Whether it's from a decline in business for street vendors or being laid-off in domestic and restaurant jobs. Funds are currently exhausted and subjected to more donations.

Emergency Relief Fund for Arizona Artists and Arts Professionals (Arizona) - A collaborative fund for emergency support for working artists, teaching artists, production personnel, and arts-based contract workers who have experienced canceled events and residencies or terminated contracts as a result of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program - Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.

Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters - List of regions with current declared disasters who are eligible for federal assistance.

Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund - If you're a creative freelancer who has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus and resulting public response, you can apply for temporary assistance through the fund. Currently closed, but policies will be reviewed and updated regularly.

Freelancers Union Freelancers Relief Fund - Freelancers Relief Fund will offer financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs, including food/food supplies; utility payments; cash assistance to cover income loss.

Fulcrum Fund (Artists based within an 80-mile radius of Albuquerque, NM) - $60,000 in emergency relief grants, providing $1,000 to 60 local artists who have lost income as a result of cancellations due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

Futures Fund: Emergency Relief for Artists (St. Louis, MO) - The Luminary, in partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, is offering immediate artist emergency grants totaling $60,000 for artists and arts organizers in the St. Louis region.

Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (Atlanta, GA) - United Way of Greater Atlanta's 2-1-1 Contact Center is helping address the negative impacts of the coronavirus in the communities. Call if you need assistance and check the website if you are able to donate to the fund.

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (Greater Pittsburgh, PA) - The Emergency Fund for Artists will now provide up to $500 in assistance to artists experiencing loss of income due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Emergency Fund also remains available for other unforeseen emergencies that may impact your ability to work, such as flood, theft, or fire.

Greater Columbus Arts Council COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants for Artists (Franklin County, OH) - The program is designed to assist artists of all disciplines living in Franklin County with the financial impacts of COVID-19.

Idea Awards COVID-19 Response Grant Lottery - You are eligible to enter the lottery for a grant of $2500 from the Bret Adams & Paul Reisch Foundation if you are: a playwright, composer, lyricist, or librettist; have had a full professional production (defined for these purposes as a LORT, Off-Broadway, or Broadway full production, not a reading or workshop) of which you are a writer that was cancelled, closed, or indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 closures.

Indie Theater Fund Rapid Relief GRANTS due to Covid19 (New York City) - Rapid relief grants of up to $500 will be awarded to support the theater community, prioritizing the consortium of companies, venues, and individuals working in NYC independent theater (Off-Off-Broadway in theater houses of 99 seats or less), operating with budgets under $250,000.

Indy Arts COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund (Indiana)- The Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund was created for individuals working in the arts sector and impacted by the current public health crisis. Primary concern is for the health and well being of individuals: specifically independent artists and staff working for small-to-midsize nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. This fund will provide rapid response $500 grants to help bridge the severe lost wages that make many in our creative community vulnerable.

Kincade Family Foundation Emergency Grant for Curators- The program will provide one (1) one-time grant of up to $5,000 for unexpected emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LA Dance Emergency Fund (Los Angeles, CA) - LA Dance Emergency Fund provides emergency relief to LA dancers and dance companies facing financial hardship caused by Greater Los Angeles dance performances/events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants can receive up to $500 with submission of appropriate application materials until MARCH 31st, 2020.

Live From Our Living Rooms - An online music festival and fundraiser where all proceeds will provide performance grants to New York City musicians whose freelance careers have been impacted by COVID-19.

Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) Emergency Grants (Maryland) - To be eligible for MSAC Emergency Grants, the artist must submit proof of ineligibility for Unemployment Insurance (UI) or proof that they have either exhausted UI benefits, (including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) or that UI benefits do not fully cover losses sustained as a result of the Governor's declared State of Emergency in relationship to COVID-19.

Mass Cultural Council COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals (Massachusetts) - The purpose of the COVID-19 Relief Fund is to support individuals whose creative practices and incomes are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Grants of $1,000 will be available to Massachusetts individual artists and independent teaching artists/humanists/scientists who have lost income derived from their work as a direct result of COVID-19 related cancellations and closures.

NC Artist Relief Fund (North Carolina) - This fund has been created to support creative individuals who have been financially impacted by gig cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Scroll down the page for the Apply button.

New Music Solidarity Fund - The New Music Solidarity Fund is designed to help new/creative/improvised music freelancers whose livelihood has been threatened as a result of performances that have been canceled during the COVID-19 crisis.

New Orleans Business Alliance Relief Fund for Gig Workers (New Orleans, LA) - As a result of the anticipated local economic impact of COVID-19, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) is standing up a relief fund to meet the needs of gig economy workers who have been directly impacted via loss of income.

NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund (New York City) - Provides support for low-income, BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being effected by this pandemic in NYC. Click here also if you'd like to donate to the fund.

NYC Small Business Services: Assistance & Guidance for Businesses Impacted Due to Novel Coronavirus (New York City) - The City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit. The City is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees.

Oolite Arts Relief Fund for artists for COVID-19 (Miami-Dade County, FL) - Visual artists who live in Miami-Dade County can now request funds to compensate for the cancellation of specific, scheduled employment (whether in the cultural sector or not) or a professional artistic opportunity, including commissions and exhibitions.

Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund (Philadelphia, PA) - Providing some small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with immediate relief through a mix of grants and loans. Applications currently closed and waiting for new funds to become available.

The Photographer Fund - A $25,000 fund to help photographers impacted by COVID-19. Assistance of up to $500 per person will be offered at the organization's discretion to determine who gets the funds.

Pillars Rapid Response Fund - A fund to support the personal expenses of Muslim artists and activists whose livelihoods are being negatively impacted by this current moment. $500 grants will be given to individuals through a short application process.

Portland Area Artist Relief (Portland Area, OR) - This fund is currently for freelance/independent artists residing in the Portland tri-county area only. The counties are Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington. This fund is not for arts organizations or nonprofits. Applications paused temporarily.

Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund - This fund is to help queer writers of color who have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19. Priority will be given to queer trans women of color and queer disabled writers of color.

Recording Academy and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund - The Recording Academy® and its affiliated charitable foundation MusiCares® have established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help their peers in the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Red Dirt Relief Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant Program (Oklahoma) - To be eligible for this aid, an individual must currently reside in Oklahoma and provide evidence he/she has been working the music industry for at least 5 years.

The Safety Net Fund (Bay Area, CA) - The Safety Net Fund is a non-profit designed to help support artists in the Bay Area during the COVID-19 crisis.

Season of Concern Chicago (Chicago, IL) - Season of Concern Chicago offers emergency assistance for any member of the Chicago theater community who is dealing with serious medical issues, including those that may result from COVID-19 infection. Proof of testing positive for the virus is required.

Seattle Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund (Puget Region in Washington State) - Hosted by Seattle Foundation, the COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to organizations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. The Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible.

Singapore Unbound Relief Fund (SURF) - Creative writers, whether they are Singapore citizens living anywhere in the world or Permanent Residents of Singapore, may apply for a USD200/SGD280 grant from SURF with no strings attached. This fund is specifically intended to help those in dire need of immediate help.

Seattle Recovery Package (Seattle, WA) - The initial support package is broken down into five components: Deferral of B&O Taxes; Assistance to Access SBA Loans; Expansion of Small Business Stabilization Fund; Relief for Utility Payments; and New Small Business Recovery Task Force.

Theater Community Benevolent Fund (Boston, MA) - Acknowledging the high potential of unexpected need within Boston's theatre community during these unprecedented times, TCBF will begin to review all COVID-19-related applications to the Fund on a weekly basis.

TrickleUp - An artists helping artists network. With 10,000 subscribers at $10 a month, they can give $10,000 to 10 different artists affected by the Covid-19 cancelations. And every month 10 new artists in need will get $10,000. If the goal is surpassed, more people will get help.

Twenty Summers Emergency Arts Fund - An Emergency Arts Fund for artists (up to $500) and arts organizations (up to $1k) suffering from unexpected and unmanageable financial loss as a result of the Coronavirus.

UNTITLED, ART Emergency Fund (Bay Area, CA) - UNTITLED, ART have expanded the qualifications for the UNTITLED, ART Emergency Fund to include financial assistance for freelance, hourly, and wage working artists vulnerable to the economic standstill.

VoxCorona (Washington, DC) - Supporting Washington, DC area vocalists whose primary source of income comes from contract work, much of which has been canceled as arts organizations shutter operations in the wake of COVID-19.

Wherewithal Grants (Washington, DC) - In March 2020, The Warhol Foundation authorized its re-granting partners to re-allocate their $100,000 grants to create and administer COVID-19 emergency relief funds in their communities. WPA has responded to this by providing two separate opportunities: Recovery Grants and Research Grants.

WomenArts Directory of Emergency Grants

Women's Center for Creative Work COVID-19 Emergency Health Grant For Artists (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, CA) - Low-income artists who work in any genre or medium, who identify as a woman, as trans or nonbinary, and/or as a person of color, who live in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino Counties are eligible to apply.

Multidisciplinary & Project-Based


Foundation for Contemporary Arts

Emergency Grants ($500-$2,500) are available by application to U.S.-based artists in all disciplines who have sudden opportunities or unexpected expenses to present work to the public. Artists should apply 6-8 weeks before funding is needed for last-minute support. For guidelines and more information please visit their website. Applications are accepted through an online form

Artists seeking relief for a canceled performance or exhibition due to COVID-19 may apply for $1,000 grants here.

Email: grants@contemporary-arts.org


Erie Arts & Culture, Emergency Financial Assistance Fund

Through Erie Arts & Culture's newly formed Emergency Financial Assistance Fund, creative and cultural professionals, which includes artists of all disciplines, who have experienced a disruption to their income stream can request up to $500 in assistance from Erie Arts & Culture. Awarded funds can be used to assist with basic living expenses, such as housing, utilities, or groceries. The objective is to provide financial support in moments of crisis to those in the sector who are experiencing financial hardship.


Distress Services are intended for activists and culture workers in situations of distress as a result of their professional work. Distress situations may include verbal threats, imprisonment or legal persecution, violent attack, professional or social exclusion, or harassment. Services include a safe haven program, emergency grants, and referrals to other resources.

Email: inquiry@freedimensional.org

The Haven Foundation

The Haven Foundation gives financial assistance to provide temporary support needed to safeguard and sustain the careers of established freelance artists, writers, and other members of the arts and art production communities who have suffered disabilities or experienced a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe.
Contact: email form on website

J. Happy Delpech Foundation - Midwest
Grants of up to $250 to artists in the Midwest with AIDS or serious illness.

Mailing Address:
J. Happy Delpech Foundation
1579 North Milwaukee, Suite 211
Chicago, IL 60622
Telephone: (312) 342-1359

Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists

The Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists was established in 2013 through a legacy gift to the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. Grants from this fund will be awarded to artists who live or work in Boulder County and meet any one or more of these priority groups: artists with unforeseen needs due to special circumstances, Artists of Color, artists with disabilities, Indigenous artists, New generation artists (18-30 years old). Grant awards will not exceed $3000. Art forms can include but are not limited to: Music, Theater, Dance, Film/Video, Literature, and Visual Art.

Max's Kansas City Project - New York State

The Max's Kansas City Project provides Emergency Relief and Resources to financially distressed individuals in the arts for housing, medical, and legal aid through one-time grants between $500-$1000. These grants are limited to New York State residents and to those who were associated with Max's Kansas City, the New York City restaurant/bar/club formerly located on Park Avenue South.

PO Box 4431
Kingston, NY 12401
Telephone: (845) 481-3416
Email: maxskc@aol.com

Mayer Foundation

The Mayer Foundation offers economic relief grants to needy individuals who are distressed or suffering as a result of poverty, low income or lack of financial resources.

Email: mayerfoundation@hotmail.com

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation's dual criteria for grants are recognizable artistic merit and financial need. The Foundation's mission is to aid individuals who have worked as professional artists over a significant period of time.

Springboard Emergency Relief Fund - Minnesota

Springboard's Emergency Relief Fund exists to help meet the emergency needs of artists living in Minnesota who are in need of immediate monies to cover an expense due to loss from fire, theft, health emergency, or other catastrophic, career-threatening event. Artists may apply for up to $500. Payment is made directly to the creditor, not the artist.

As part of their response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, they have expanded the guidelines to include lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures. Artists can request up to $500 to compensate for canceled work that was scheduled and lost. At this time the fund is not available to compensate for future gigs or potential loss of business. Springboard for the Arts has committed an additional $10,000 from their budget to support this effort and is committed to working with partners to increase the fund based on demand.

Telephone: (651) 292-4381
E-mail: ERF@springboardforthearts.org

Tamarack Foundation Emergency Relief Program

If you are an artist that has been directly affected by a significant disaster such as flood, fire, or emergency medical needs, you may be eligible for the Tamarack Emergency Relief Program. The foundation offers grants and bridge loans of up to $5,000 for artist businesses on a rolling basis to help with these events. These funds are available to artists juried into the Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia retail facility in Beckley, WV.


American Poets Fund

The fund assists poets of demonstrated ability who are in a state of urgent financial need. Grants cannot be used to promote or otherwise enhance literary talent or reputation, and applications are not accepted. Academy Chancellors, Fellows, and prize winners must bring the circumstances of qualifying poets to the attention of the American Poets Fund committee by sending a letter of nomination, including specifics about the nominee's current financial situation, to the Executive Director of the Academy.

American Society of Journalists & Authors

The mission of the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund is to help established freelance writers who, because of advanced age, illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work. A writer need not be a member of ASJA to qualify for a grant. However, applicants must establish a record of past professional freelance nonfiction writing over a sustained period of years, which means qualifications generally similar to those of ASJA members. WEAF does not award grants to beginning freelancers seeking funding for writing projects, nor does it fund works-in-progress of any kind.

Telephone: (212) 997-0947
Fax: (212) 937-2315
Email: weafapp@asja.org

Authors League Fund

The Authors League Fund helps professional writers and dramatists who find themselves in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income or other misfortune. The Fund gives open-ended, interest-free, no-strings-attached loans. These loans are not grants or scholarships meant to subsidize personal writing projects.

Telephone: (212) 268-1208
Email: staff@authorsleaguefund.org

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation financial assistance program helps booksellers with specific unforeseen emergency financial needs. The Foundation assesses each request to determine a course of action to provide relief to the bookseller. All grants are paid to third-party vendors and not directly to the bookseller. Binc is also offering an Expedited Application for COVID-19 Emergency. This application is for individual assistance only. If you are an owner requesting assistance for your bookstore please email help@bincfoundation.org.

Telephone: 866-733-9064
Email: info@bincfoundation.org

Carnegie Fund for Authors

The Carnegie Fund offers grants-in-aid to qualified commercially published book authors who have suffered financial emergency as a result of illness or injury (their own or that of spouses or dependent children) or who have suffered some equivalent misfortune. Grant amounts vary according to need.

Contact via form on website.

Clayton Memorial Medical Fund - Pacific Northwest

The fund helps professional science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery writers living in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska deal with the financial burden of medical expenses. The fund generally follows the standards of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for Active or Associate membership in determining professional status.


Human Rights/Hellman-Hammett Grants

Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett grant program for writers who have been victims of political persecution and are in financial need. Hellman/Hammett grants typically range from $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000. The grants are awarded annually after the nominations have been reviewed by a selection committee composed of authors, editors, and journalists who have a longstanding interest in free expression issues. Nomination forms (available online) should be sent to the New York office of Human Rights Watch by February 15 annually.

Telephone: (212) 290-4700
Email: hhgrants@hrw.org

The PEN Writers Fund

Emergency fund for professional--published or produced--writers with serious financial difficulties. Grants up to $2,000. Writers do not have to be a Member of PEN American Center to receive a grant.

The PEN Fund for Writers and Editors with HIV/AIDS

The PEN Fund for Writers and Editors with HIV/AIDS, administered under the PEN Writers' Emergency Fund, gives grants of up to $2,000 to professional writers and editors who face serious financial difficulties because of HIV or AIDS-related illness.

Email: feprogram@pen.org

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Emergency Medical and Legal Fund

The SFWA Emergency Medical Fund offers interest-free loans to members facing unexpected medical expenses. Active SFWA members are eligible to request assistance from the Fund.

Media Arts

Ad Relief of Greater Los Angeles

Ad Relief of Greater Los Angeles (formerly the Advertising Industry Emergency Fund) has been established to provide aid and to promote the raising of monies for aid in times of need to members of the Southern California advertising and promotions industry and their families. Persons eligible for aid must have been employed for a continuous period of one year by an advertising or promotions entity within the Greater Los Angeles area.

Telephone: (310) 397-7830
Email via form on website.

Broadcasters' Foundation

The Broadcasters Foundation of America provides Emergency & Disaster Grants to radio and television broadcasters find themselves in acute financial need and do not have insurance to cover their losses after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado or wildfire, extreme flooding, house fire, or other serious misfortune.

Telephone: (212) 373-8250
Email: info@thebfoa.org

Directors Guild Foundation

The DGF provides no interest, confidential loans to Guild members in good standing who are in need of emergency financial assistance. This program allows members to maintain their privacy by ensuring their anonymity during a difficult time.

Telephone: (310) 289-2037
Email: ejones@dga.org

Motion Picture and Television Fund

MPTF offers a number of services for members of the entertainment industry and their families including: crisis support with social workers, financial assistance, low-cost basic medical services, health insurance premium support, senior housing and support, daycare, and referrals to other service providers.

Telephone Toll-Free: 855-760-MPTF (6783)
Email: info@MPTF.com

Screen Actors Guild Foundation

The SAG Foundation provides assistance to eligible SAG-AFTRA members during times of crisis and personal need, offering emergency financial aid, as well as grants for health coverage in cases of catastrophic injury or illness or need for COBRA coverage.

Telephone: Davidson Lloyd, Director of Assistance Programs: (323) 549-6773

Email via form on website

Screen Actors Guild Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund (MPPWF)

The Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund serves SAG-AFTRA members in the New York region and all Locals East of Omaha, Nebraska. The MPPWF is designed to assist eligible members who are struggling with a financial, personal or medical crisis. Financial assistance is available for rent, utilities, mental health and medical care as well as other basic living expenses. Administered by the Actors Fund, offering access to their services as well.

Telephone: New York : (212) 221-7300, Ext. 119; Chicago: (312) 372-0989; All others: (800) 221-7303; For emergencies only on evenings and weekends: (212) 621-7780

Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund (MPPAF)

The Pioneers Assistance Fund (MPPAF) serves members of the motion picture entertainment industry (exhibition, distribution and trade services) who are encountering an illness, injury or life changing event. Services include temporary financial aid for emergency needs, monthly stipends for frail or disabled low income senior veterans, and social service counseling.

Telephone: (888) 994-3863


American Federation of Musicians (AFM): Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund

The Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians provides a modest grant to temporarily or permanently disabled musicians who are members of the AFM.

Telephone: (212) 869-1330 ext. 224

American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund

The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Fund provides support and temporary financial assistance to members who are in need. AGMA contracts with The Actors Fund to administer this program nationally as well as to provide comprehensive social services. Financial assistance is available for rent, utilities, mental health and medical care, as well as other basic living expenses. Grants are made case-by-case, based on need. Through March 31, due to the devastating toll COVID-19 has taken on their members, the AGMA Relief Fund will temporarily double the cap of financial assistance available to AGMA members in need.

Telephone: East Coast: (212) 221-7300, Ext. 119; Midwest: (312) 372-0989; West Coast: (323) 933-9244, Ext. 55. For emergencies on evenings and weekends only: 212-621-7780

Email: East Coast: intakeny@actorsfund.org; Midwest: dtowne@actorsfund.org; West Coast: intakela@actorsfund.org

Bagby Foundation for Musical Arts

The Foundation offers small grants to support opera and classical music professionals, with a focus on pensioners.

Telephone: (212) 986-6094

Bluegrass Trust Fund

If you are or have been a professional in the business of bluegrass and are in a time of emergency need, you may apply here for assistance from the Bluegrass Trust Fund. Each request for assistance is judged on its own merits and should demonstrate a financial emergency or circumstance involving dire need. There is no limit to the amount an applicant may request, but grants have generally ranged from $500.00 to $5000.00.

Blues Foundation HART Fund

The Blues Foundation has established the HART Fund (Handy Artists Relief Trust) for Blues musicians and their families in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns. The Fund provides for acute, chronic and preventive medical and dental care as well as funeral and burial expenses.

Telephone: 901-527-2583, Ext. 10
Email: elizabeth@blues.org

California Jazz Foundation

To request a Financial Assistance Application or an Emergency Medical Referral, applicant must show at least 5 years of primary employment as a jazz artist and California residency.

Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund

The Opry Trust Fund provides financial assistance in time of extraordinary need, emergency or catastrophe to individuals who are or have been employed full time in a facet of the country music industry (i.e. performer, songwriter, publisher, radio, session musician, etc.). Examples of distribution needs include: medical bills, living expenses, rent or mortgage, and utilities. The Opry Trust Fund accepts referrals from individuals within the country music community, including Opry members, as well as from other charitable organizations, such as MusiCares and the Performers Benefit Fund.

Telephone: 1-800-SEE-OPRY

Jazz Foundation of America

The Housing and Emergency Assistance program provides jazz and blues artists with an experienced social worker to assess his/her situation and provide rapid assistance including financial support, legal services, housing counseling, and more.

Telephone: (212) 245-3999

Email: info@jazzfoundation.org

Music Maker Relief Foundation

The Musical Sustenance Program offers emergency funds, monthly living stipends, and assistance in obtaining social services to artists working in the Southern musical tradition, focusing on those 55 years or older with an annual income of $18,000 or less.

Telephone: (919) 643-2456
Email: 411@musicmaker.org

MusiCares Foundation

MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares' services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, including addiction resources.

Telephone: West Coast: (800) 687-4227; Central: (877) 626-2748; Northeast: (877) 303-6962

Musicians' Emergency Relief Fund

The Local 802 Musicians' Emergency Relief Fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) administered by the Musicians' Assistance Program (MAP). A New York State licensed social worker provides confidential social services to members and their families. It is funded by the Musicians' ERF and administered by the Actors Fund.

Musicians Emergency Resource Foundation - Kentucky & Southern Indiana MERF grants financial and resource assistance to Kentuckiana (select counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana) music industry professionals in times of need and emergency crisis.

Email Form Online

Musicians Foundation

The Musicians Foundation assists professional musicians (who have worked at least 5 years) with grants for medical and allied living expenses in the case of emergency situations.

Telephone: (212) 239-9137
E-mail: info@musiciansfoundation.org

Pinetop Perkins Foundation - Pinetop Assistance League (PAL) for Elder Musicians

Provides financial assistance to elderly musicians for medical and living expenses. The Pinetop Assistance League does not disburse funds direct to individuals. Payments are made by check to the creditor on your behalf.

Rhythm and Blues Foundation

The fund provides financial and medical assistance to Rhythm & Blues artists of the 1940s through the 1970s.

Telephone and Fax: (800) 980-5208
Email: rhythmandbluesfoundation@gmail.com

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Sweet Relief offers assistance to all who reach out. While financial grants may not be available to every applicant, other resources information, counseling and financial services are additional options each artist may take advantage of.

Telephone: (888) 955-7880
Email: info@sweetrelief.org

Performing Arts

Actors Fund of America

The Actors Fund assists those working in theater, film, television, radio, music, dance, opera and circus. The Fund offers a broad spectrum of programs including comprehensive social services, health care services, employment and training, and housing. Programs are administered through offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and eligibility varies by program.

Telephone: (212) 221-7300
Email: info@actorsfund.org

American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA)

AGVA offers its current and previous members emergency aid through the AGVA Sick & Relief Fund.

Telephone: (212) 675-1003, Ext. 102

The Dancers' Fund

The Dancers' Fund provides short-term financial assistance to Chicago dance professionals in times of critical health need.

Telephone: (312) 922-5812
Email: info@chicagodancersunited.org

Dancers' Resource

The Dancers' Resource was created in response to the unique situation dancers face due to the physically demanding nature of their work, coupled with the significant financial challenges of earning a living in dance. Support includes counseling, healthcare referrals, educational seminars, emergency financial assistance, and more.

Telephone: Eastern Region : (212) 221-7300, Ext. 119; Central Region: (312) 372-0989, Western Region: (323) 933-9244, Ext. 455
Email: Eastern Region: cdrury@actorsfund.org; Central Region: shaught@actorsfund.org; Western Region: intakela@actorsfund.org

Dramatists Guild Fund

The Dramatists Guild Fund awards one-time emergency grants to individual playwrights, lyricists and composers in need of temporary financial assistance due to unexpected illness or extreme hardship. To be considered for personal grant, you must have had a play or musical either presented for a paying audience anywhere in the United States or Canada, and/or published by a legitimate publishing/licensing company; or be an active member of The Dramatists Guild.

Telephone: (212) 391-8384
Email: info@dgf.org

Episcopal Actors Guild of America

To apply to the EAG Emergency Aid & Relief Program, which offers grants for financial need, the primary determining criterion for eligibility is that the applicant be a professional performing artist who is pursuing an established and ongoing career in the performing arts. Theatre performers who perform live onstage before a live audience are the primary focus of the program.

Telephone: (212) 685-2927
Email: karen@actorsguild.org

HOWL Emergency Life Project (HELP)

The Howl Emergency Life Project was created to provide emergency financial assistance and social service support to artists who have participated in the annual Howl Festival or who make their careers in New York City's East Village and Lower East Side arts community and whose work challenges the traditional boundaries of dance, theatre, music, multimedia and the spoken word. Eligibility for the financial assistance program requires an application, documentation of professional earnings and an interview.

New York City Contact: 212.221.7300, ext. 119 or intakeny@actorsfund.org
Chicago Contact: 312.372.0989 or shaught@actorsfund.org
Los Angeles Contact: 323.933.9244, ext. 455 or intakela@actorsfund.org

Renaissance Entertainers, Services, and Crafters United Foundation (RESCU)

The RESCU Foundation was established to promote and maintain the health and medical well-being of the participants of Renaissance Fairs, historical performances and other artistic events through several programs including financial assistance and counseling for emergency medical needs.

Telephone: (800) 374-9215
Email: assistance@RESCUfoundation.org

Theatre Bay Area

The Mary Mason Lemonade Fund is a confidential resource for San Francisco Bay Area theatre practitioners with terminal or life-threatening illnesses who are in need of supplemental financial assistance to improve the quality of their lives as they deal with medical conditions.

Mailing Address:

Telephone: (415) 430-1140, Ext. 14
Email: dale@theatrebayarea.org

TheatreWashington Taking Care of Our Own - Washington, DC

Taking Care of Our Own is an initiative of theatreWashington to assist currently active Washington, DC area theatre professionals and artists in personal emergency situations.

Telephone: Michael Kyrioglou at (202) 337-4572
Email: mkyrioglou@theatrewashington.org

Visual Arts

Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc.

The Emergency Assistance Program provides interim financial assistance to qualified artists whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation. An applicant must be able to demonstrate a minimum involvement of ten years in a mature phase of his or her work in the disciplines of painting, sculpture or printmaking. The maximum amount of this grant is $15,000; an award of $5,000 is typical.

Telephone: (212) 226-0581
Email: sross@gottliebfoundation.org

Artists' Benevolence Fund - Laguna Beach, CA

The Artists' Benevolence Fund by the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival provides financial assistance to working artists who live in Laguna Beach and have suffered a catastrophic event that has resulted in financial hardship.

Telephone: For additional information, please contact the Benevolence Fund Trustees: Linda Grossman 949-770-2244, Monica Prado 949-338-4073, Larry Gill 949-235-1121, or Gavin Heath 949-395-4976

The Artists' Charitable Fund

The Artists' Charitable Fund assists United States visual artists facing financial crisis due to medical, dental, flood, fire, or other catastrophes by paying a portion of medical/eye/dental bills directly to the provider.

Telephone: Judy Archibald, Fund Coordinator, (970) 577-0509
Email: cnynsprt@aol.com

Artists' Fellowship, Inc.

The Artists' Fellowship, Inc. is a private, charitable foundation that assists professional fine artists (painters, graphic artists, sculptors) and their families in times of emergency, disability, or bereavement.

Telephone: (212) 255-7740 Ext. 216
Email: info@artistsfellowship.org

CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund)

CERF+ emergency relief for artists working in craft disciplines includes grants, no-interest loans, access to resources, waivers and discounts on booth fees, and donations of craft supplies and equipment. One of the eligibility requirements is having had a recent career-threatening emergency such as serious illness, injury, or significant loss from theft, fire, flood or other disaster.

Telephone: (802) 229-2306
Email: info@craftemergency.org

Joan Mitchell Foundation Emergency Grant

The Joan Mitchell Foundation provides emergency support to artists working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and/or drawing after natural or manmade disasters that have affected a community. Artists who have suffered losses due to catastrophic situations of this nature can apply to the Foundation for funding.

Telephone: (212) 524-0100
Email: grantsupport@joanmitchellfoundation.org

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants

The program will provide one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists and choreographers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories. If you aren't sure if your artistic discipline fits within these guidelines, please contact the grants administrator.

Email: emergencyfunds@nyfa.org

Tamarack Artisan Foundation - West Virginia

The Tamarack Artisan Relief Program (TARP) offers grants and low interest bridge loans to West Virginian artisans who have been directly affected by significant disasters such as destructive floods, fires, emergency medical needs, etc.

Telephone: (304) 926-3770
Email: renee@tamarackfoundation.org

April 8, 2020

The No-No of "No Copyright Infringement Intended" Disclaimers

By Christine-Marie Lauture

"No copyright infringement intended."
"No copyright intended."
"I do not own the music in this video/rights to this music."
"I do not take credit for this video."

As the saying goes: Monkey see, monkey do...in the world of improperly uploading content. While this pandemic has forced the world to get adjusted to life at home, you may find yourself going down the rabbit-hole that is choreography videos on YouTube to watch and learn from (with copyrighted music played in the background). Or you may find yourself being peer-pressured into one of the Quarantine-popular challenges, such as the playful wardrobe-change "#DontRushChallenge" on TikTok or Twitter. In either case, you might have come across a slew of videos with one of the aforementioned disclaimers - either listed in the title of the video or within the information/caption section. Why are they there? Well, it is common knowledge by online content creators that any use of copyrighted material (including music) in a video, without a license to do so, may be copyright infringement.

Why does copyright infringement matter?

Copyright infringement, as a general matter, occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner. A copyright owner can seek damages for unpermitted use of its work. Not only could the hard work you put into your video be in vain, as your content will be at risk of being taken down or muted, but you could also be subject to potential hefty fines and/or legal action against you.

Can I use "No copyright infringement intended" as an effective disclaimer and avoid any legal issues?

In short, absolutely not. Using the phrase "No copyright infringement intended" is merely announcing to the universe that you are committing willful copyright infringement, by knowingly using someone else's protected content without permission. Usually, those disclaimers are daubed by someone who just wanted to use content for free, and who apparently believes making a disclaimer that he or she didn't intend to infringe a copyright makes one an innocent actor. However, the disclaimer suggests that you are fully aware that you are using copyrighted material without permission.

Why are the disclaimers used so frequently?

It is a legally misguided belief that such disclaimers furnish protection against infringement. Many people simply use these disclaimers without really understanding what they mean. Some intend to use disclaimers as notices to state that they are not the copyright owners. Although many also erroneously rely on the Fair Use Doctrine, which is an exception to copyright laid out in the statute, Fair Use is only a defense used in a copyright infringement action, and not applicable here.

What happens when I rely on the disclaimer and upload my content anyway?

As these disclaimers effectively function as red flags for copyright enforcement teams, it is very likely that you will receive a Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") takedown notice. A DMCA takedown notice is the first step in the process of removing infringing content from a website at the request of the copyright owner (or one acting on behalf of the copyright owner) of the content. You can either receive a DMCA takedown notice directly from the copyright owner, and/or from the Internet Service Provider ("ISP"), such as YouTube, or its agent. If there is an infringement, which you may expressly acknowledge by using one of those disclaimers on your uploaded content, the best response would be to proceed with taking down and removing the content at issue, per the instructions on the notice.

If you choose to ignore the notice, or fail to immediately respond by the time specified, you could be facing a copyright infringement lawsuit. If a copyright owner pursues a copyright infringement suit against you and can show that you engaged in "willful" infringement, you may be liable for statutory damages up to $150,000 per work. To state frankly, things can become very expensive and very quickly.

How can I properly use or upload someone else's content?

All of those stressful scenarios can simply be resolved by getting permission to use the copyrighted content. Your safest bet is to always assume that any created work you come across is protected under copyright law. If there is not an explicit statement from the copyright owner on a work that states it is in the public domain, then there is a good chance that someone owns the rights to it. Permission can obtained by the following:

• Find out who is/are the copyright owner(s). Some owners use third-party companies to facilitate licensing opportunities. One example of these companies is Creative Commons, which is a non-profit that provides public copyright licenses to enable the free distribution of a copyrighted work. Even then, however, there are specific conditions that apply to different Creative Commons licenses. So, make sure to read the Terms & Conditions with any license and understand exactly how the content can be used and whether there are any limitations on the use.
• GET CONSENT! Request use of the intellectual property you wish from either the copyright owner or its third-party licensing facilitator. A helpful tip: when asking someone for consent to use its content, be specific about the intentions for the use.
• When your request for use is approved, you may use the intellectual property - AS PER the terms & conditions agreed to with the owner.
• An alternative: Use music from the public domain in your videos. There are also quite a few websites that offer royalty-free background music for videos (i.e. PremiumBeat; Epidemic Sound; Artlist; Soundstripe, etc.).
• For more information on compliance with copyright law, visit the U.S. Copyright Office at https://www.copyright.gov/title17/.

Social Media Platforms Making Copyright Compliance Easier

As many have been enjoying, Instagram has created a music sticker and music mode feature to allow users to add music to their Stories. With the Music feature, users can either include music before or after capturing a photo or video for their Stories, by typing in or scrolling through a wide selection of songs, which Instagram has license to use. Whatever song (and portion of a song) a user selects for a Story, a sticker will be located in the Story displaying the song title and artist name.

Similarly, with the family-favorite and Pandemic-popular TikTok app, the platform provides users with a platform for sharing short video clips with an audio track. TikTok has partnered with several labels, allowing its users to dance and lip-sync their desired popular songs without fear of a takedown (although these licenses may not include permission from the songs' underlying owners, the music publishers, which require separate licenses). The safest way to ensure a song is cleared is to use what is already offered in the app, similar to Instagram. There is a Sounds feature that provides a thorough library of licensed music for users to choose from as their background audio.

Copyright infringement is not something to take lightly and all users of content should have a thorough understanding of it before deciding to post someone else's work. Copyright law does not excuse those who infringe unknowingly, and don't let the fallacy of disclaimer protection get you stuck!

Disclaimer: Please note that the preceding is for informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. No Attorney-Client privilege has been created. Consult an attorney for further information on the use of copyright-protected content.

The Cultural World Is Ailing. That's Why 23 Arts Groups Have United to Give $5,000 to 100 Artists Every Week Until September

From ArtNet news: https://news.artnet.com/opinion/artist-relief-fund-op-ed-1828242

To support artists during the COVID-19 crisis, a coalition of national arts grantmakers have come together to create an emergency initiative to offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States.

Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists.

To be eligible for a relief grant, applicants must be:

Practicing artists able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to their work, careers, and a public audience;

Experiencing dire financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

21 years of age or older;

Able to receive taxable income in the U.S. (e.g. citizen, green card holder, and/or permanent resident who can provide a W9 and SSN or ITIN);

Residing and working in the U.S. for the last two years;

Not a full-time employee, board member, director, officer, or immediate family member of any of the coalition partners;

Not previously awarded a relief grant from this fund.

Please note that the Artist Relief coalition partners will make final eligibility determinations as needed. Learn more by reviewing this FAQ at https://www.artistrelief.org/faq. To apply, click https://artistrelief.submittable.com/submit.

April 13, 2020

Week In Review

La-Vaughnda A. Taylor
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, Coronavirus, and General News:


Weinstein Faces New Charge of Sex assault in California

Harvey Weinstein faces additional sexual battery charge in a California case. The charge stems from an incident that occurred at a hotel in Beverly Hills in May 2010. Weinstein faces up to 29 years in state prison if convicted in the amended complaint.


The Obies Go Online, The Money Saved Goes to Artists

The Obie Awards, an annual ceremony honoring the best New York theater work performed Off and Off Off Broadway, will be virtual this year, forced online because of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused the cancellation of in-person gatherings. The American Theatre Wing, which presents the Obies, will give the money that would have been spent on an in-person event to artists whose plays could not be staged because of the outbreak. The virtual will celebrate what was, and offer relief grants to celebrate what might have been. This year will honor an abridged season with shows that opened between May 1, 2019 and March 12, 2020. The date of the virtual ceremony has not yet been determined. The American Theater Wing estimates that more than 90 Off and Off Off Broadway shows were shuttered by the pandemic.


Ticket Sellers Resist Pleas for Refunds

Ticket vendors are being criticizecd for treating the thousands of live events that were called off as postponements, where many are not offering refunds. Some concerts were postponed anywhere from 7 months to indefinitely. The pandemic is triggering widespread anger at ticketing companies, like Ticketmaster and StubHub. As concertgoers see it, ticketing outlets are being greedy in a time of crisis, holding billions of dollars in consumers' cash that people now need for essentials. Their anger is being stoked by the sense that some vendors switched their refund policies mid-crisis to avoid repaying consumers. Fans have drawn attention to the fact that Ticketmaster recently adjusted the language on its website, saying now that only "cancellation" is a basis for obtaining refunds. Last week, a Wisconsin man sued StubHub after the company recently dropped its refund policy, offering instead coupons worth 120% of what customers had paid for canceled events.


Broadway Delays Opening

Forty-one Broadway theaters have been closed since March 12 and will remain closed at least until June, probably longer. Industry leaders last Wednesday formally acknowledged what has been widely known: that their initial target of reopening in mid-April has become impossible because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Broadway League, a trade association representing producers and theatre owners, said that the 41 Broadway houses would remain shuttered at least through June 7. Many say the best-case scenario is reopening following the July 4 weekend and it is possible that the industry will not reopen until after Labor Day. The entire industry, like so many others, is on pause, at the cost of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars.



The Philharmonic Must Reinstate 2 Fired Players

The New York Philharmonic has been forced by an arbitrator to reinstate 2 players it fired over allegations of unspecified sexual misconduct. The dismissed players were principal oboist Liang Wang and associate principal trumpet Matthew Muckey. The men were dismissed in September 2018. Both denied any wrongdoing and the players' union filed a grievance challenging their dismissals. The independent arbitrator found that the players had been terminated without just cause and should be reinstated.


Kennedy Center Drops Furloughs for Musicians

The National Symphony Orchestra's musicians will be receiving a pay cut, but will not be furloughed, under a new deal worked out between their union and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where they perform. The Kennedy Center had planned to furlough the musicians for an undetermined time so as to address the financial shortfalls from the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement caused a political uproar, largely because the Kennedy Center had received $25 million in emergency funding as part of the recently enacted stimulus package. However, an agreement was announced last week with the D.C. Federation of Musicians, in which the orchestra (96 musicians and 2 orchestra librarians) would see pay cuts amounting to 35% of the total payroll until early September. The union said that the furlough violated itscollective bargaining agreement.


Lincoln Center Cancels Summer Program Over Safety Concerns

New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts announced that it was canceling all of its summer performances and activities. In a statement, Lincoln Center said it was its "intention, when it is safe again to gather in-person, to stage a free pop-up festival in celebration of our great city, and the selfless first responders and healthcare workers who are giving so much during this crisis." It also emphasized its online offerings during the crisis. Much of the Lincoln Center's summer programming is free and its decision to cancel may be a harbinger for culturally quiet months ahead in New York City and elsewhere.


One Theatre Tries for an All-Audio Season

Bobby Cannavale, Carla Gugino, and Audra McDonald will still perform for the Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer, but their shows will be on Audible, not onstage. The Williamstown Theater Festival has been grappling with the same dilemma facing every performing arts organization during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The prestigious nonprofit, known for its annual summer season that draws a stream of A-list artists to Western Massachusetts, was determined not to join the parade of cancellations this year. In a bold attempt to salvage its season, the Festival has decided to develop, rehearse, and record all 7 of its planned productions and release them in audio form on Audible. The productions will feature the same performers who would have appeared onstage. This will be the first complete theatre season released entirely by Audible, which established a theatre division 3 years ago and has since released 36 productions. Audible will pay the artists, who will include not only the actors and directors, but a battery of sound designers and audio producers as well.


A Major Comic Book Distributor Has Halted Deliveries, and Shops are Shuttered, Putting the Industry in Jeopardy

Like every other business that has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, comic book publishing--a wellspring of material for countless hit films and TV shows--is in considerable jeopardy. In recent weeks, the industry has been throttled at every juncture. Comic book store owners have shuttered their shops and the distribution of new titles has been frozen. Writers and artists continue to produce work, not knowing how or when readers will be able to see it. No one sees a quick solution; it cannot be predicted whether the current calamity will eradicate only some stores and publishers or an entire, decade-old model of doing business. The proprietors of comic book shops across the country say that what once looked like a promising year of business has evaporated amid state-by-state policies that have required the closure of their stores. A devastating blow came when Diamond Comic Distributors, the company that supplies them with the comic books and graphic novels of most major publishers, announced that it would stop shipping new comics to stores beginning April 1. Though most comic books are available in digital formats, many fans value the experience of visiting stores in person, browsing the racks, and soliciting the opinions of other readers. Comics still rely on actual stores and the communities they provide.



U.S. Prosecutors Charge That Bribery Helped Secure World Cup Bids

According to U.S. prosecutors, bribes were allegedly paid to secure votes for Russia and Qatar bids for 2018 and 2022. A pair of former 21st Century Fox executives and several others have been charged with making illegal payments to win broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. The indictments include charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering conspiracy. The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades. Since the first indictments were announced in May 2015, there have been 26 publicly announced guilty pleas, many from former soccer officials.


Ultimate Fighting Championship Will Cancel Fight After California Expresses Concerns to Disney

Dana White, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (U.F.C.) president, insisted that his plans for a 12-fight mixed martial arts showcase this month would have been safer for participants than staying at home or going to the grocery store during the coronavirus pandemic. Yet with the showcase, U.F.C. 249, just 10 days away, it was unclear how White and the U.F.C. could ensure the safety of pressing forward--despite additional objections from combat sports doctors and public health officials. Some legal experts believed that county and state officials could step in, even though the April 18 event was to be staged on sovereign tribal land.

U.F.C. 249 was finally canceled after ESPN and parent company Disney stopped White's plan to keep fighting amid the coronavirus pandemic. White defiantly vowed for weeks to maintain a regular schedule of fights while the rest of the sports world halted. While the U.F.C. won't have fights in the upcoming weeks, White said that he is still pursuing his plan to build an octagon and everything else necessary to telecast small fight shows on an unidentified private island. White had planned to use the so-called "Fight Island" in upcoming months for non-American fighters who couldn't get into the U.S.



Casinos Endure a Very Bad Beat

Sports betting was poised for a big moment, then the coronavirus pandemic led to closed casinos and the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournaments. The pandemic has shuttered nearly every casino in the U.S. and gambling companies missed out on the surge in visitors and wagers they were counting on from the tournaments. Casinos have been decimated in the economic reckoning brought on by the outbreak. The stock prices for many gaming companies are down 60% or more, reflecting investor pessimism about their futures. The shutdown of sports and so much of leisure spending has been a striking turnabout for an industry less than 2 years removed from the Supreme Court decision that cleared a path for sports wagers across the country and a new generation of bettors.


Tour de France Seeks Postponement, Not Cancellation

With the spread of coronavirus forcing the postponement or cancellation of major sporting events in the world, one cycling race stands strong in its resolve to run in the summer of 2020: the Tour de France. The Amaury Sport Organization still hasn't made any announcements or statements about how the world's biggest cycling race, scheduled to run from June 27 to July 19, could be impacted by the global pandemic. Right now, the Union Cycliste Internationale has halted racing until June 1. Organizers of the Tour de France say that an official decision will be rendered by mid-May. Reportedly, a month-long postponement is being considered,shifting the start into late July from the current state date of June 27.


Hacker Leaves Prison for a New Lockdown

Rui Pinto, the hacker whose revelations shook soccer by shining light on its darkest secrets, has been released from prison and put under house arrest. In recent years, the Portuguese computer hacker has garnered as much attention as the country's most famous soccer stars. He revealed some of their secrets in a startling series of leaks that shook the global soccer industry and beyond for almost 4 years until he was apprehended to answer 147 charges. He had been in preventative custody in a Lisbon jail for more than a year awaiting trial. An international coalition believed he should be granted whistle-blower status for the crimes and wrongdoing his leaks had exposed. He has been released and placed under house arrest on the condition that he not use the internet.



A Surge It Didn't Expect Has Zoom Rushing Fixes

Over the last month, the Zoom videoconferencing service has emerged as the communication lifeline of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally, the service was meant for businesses, but then consumers flocked to the video platform for school and socializing, which made it easy to hijack videoconferences and harass participants in online attacks known as Zoombombing. Now the company is scrambling to deal with privacy and security issues. The company has formed a council of chief information security offices from other companies to share ideas on best practices and announced that it had hired Alex Stamos, the former chief security officer of Facebook, as an outside adviser.


In a Crackdown on Scams, Facebook Also Hampers Volunteer Efforts

As health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic plead for personal protective equipment, volunteer efforts to create hand-sewn masks and deliver them to medical professionals have quickly sprung up across the internet. However, those efforts were hampered by Facebook's automated content moderation system over the past week, according to sewing organizers who have used the social network to coordinate donation campaigns. Facebook's systems threatened to ban the organizers from posting and commenting, landing them in "Facebook Jail" and even threatened to delete the groups. Facebook has long struggled to distinguish between innocuous and malicious content on its site because of the reliance on automated systems to flag and remove posts that violate its terms of service.


Tech Giants to Team Up in Tracing the Infected

Tech giants have teamed up to use Bluetooth-based framework to keep track of the spread of infections without compromising location privacy. Since the pandemic began its spread, technologists have proposed used so-called contact-tracing apps to track infections via smartphones. Now, Google and Apple are teaming up to give contact-tracers the ingredients to make that system possible--while in theory still preserving the privacy of those who use it. The two companies have announced a rare joint project to create the groundwork for Bluetooth-based contact-tracing apps that can work across both iOS and Android phones. In mid-May, they plan to release an application programming interface IAPI) into which apps from public health organizations can tap. The API will let those apps use a phone's Bluetooth radio to keep track of whether a smartphone's owner has come in contact with someone who later turns out to have been infected with COVID-19. Once alerted, that user can then self-isolate or get tested. Google and Apple say the system won't involve tracking user locations or even collecting any identifying data that would be stored on a server.


Twitter's Dorsey Plans Donation of $1 Billion for Virus Relief

Twitter co-founder and Chief Executive Jack Dorsey has pledged to set aside $1 billion to fund charitable causes, starting with relief efforts toward the novel coronavirus pandemic. Dorsey says that the money will come from his stake in Square Inc., which he also co-founded and runs. The amount represents about 28% of his wealth.


COVID-19 Updates

As Deaths Surge, Governors Plead with Washington

As the surgeon general told the nation to brace for "our Pearl Harbor moment" of cascading coronavirus deaths this week, several governors said that their states were in urgent need ot federal help and complained that they had been left to compete for critical equipment in the absence of a consistent strategy and coordination from the Trump administration, leading many to walk a delicate path. President Trump has dismissed criticism from some governors as mere politics. Three major metropolitan areas - New York, Detroit, and New Orleans - have seen death rates rise rapidly and other states are anticipating a peak in cases later this month.


Despite Timely Alerts, Trump Was Slow to Act

A week after the first coronavirus case had been identified in the U.S., and 6 long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing--a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives--Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation's public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action. He was hardly a lone voice. Throughout January, as Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government identified the threat, sounded alarms, and made clear the need for aggressive action. The president was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy, and batting away warnings from senior officials.


App Data Strongly Links Loss of Smell to Infection

Some have touted the symptom as a sign of COVID-19 but scientists have limited, inconclusive data in hand. Growing reports suggest that the loss of sense of smell, a condition known as anosmia, is a symptom of the virus. There has been a surge of anecdotal evidence from around the world. According to some, reports are mounting of people who tested positive for the disease but had no noticeable symptoms other than a mysterious loss or reduction of their sense of smell. Other experts in the medical community have pushed back, saying the coronavirus connection isn't solid. So far, neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nor the World Health Organization (WHO), has added anosmia to its lists of COVID-19 symptoms. Up to 40% of people with other viral infections, such as influence or the common cold, experience a temporary loss of smell that usually reverses itself in a couple weeks.


Preying on the Panicked, Scammers and Con Artists See a Bonanza in Covid-19

Federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities are reporting an explosion of scams as fraudsters move to capitalize on public panic over the fast-moving pandemic and the flood of federal money making its way to most Americans to help address the economic fallout. There's everything from low-tech to very sophisticated schemes. Seeking to stay ahead of the curve, the Justice Department has set up a task force to investigate price-gouging and prosecutors have been instructed to prioritize fraud cases. Other agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, have followed suit. The Federal Trade Commission has reported that the number of coronavirus-related complaints it had received from consumers this year had doubled during the previous week, reaching more than 7,800.


Trump Again Pushes Drug, Never Mind Expert Opinion

President Trump's aggressive support for the unproven idea of using the lupus and malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus has puzzled public health experts, journalists, and others for weeks. The New York Times has reported one possible explanation: financial interest--his own, and that of those close to him. However, Trump's Sanofi stake is indirect and rather small, with him owning shares through a fund that includes a diverse array of stocks. The immediate intrest in Trump's financial connections is another indicator of how the president's decision not to sell off his assets or put them into a trust opens him up to allegations of impropriety. Trump's top medical experts have taken a more measured tone.


Gaps in Amazon's Response Leave Workers Feeling Exposed

As millions of Americans heed government orders to hunker down, ordering food, medicines, books, and puzzle boards for home delivery, many of Amazon's 400,000 warehouse workers have stayed on the job, fulfilling the crushing demands of a country suddenly working and learning from home. Orders for Amazon groceries have been as much as 50 times higher than normal. The challenge is keeping enough people on the job to fill those orders. For all of its high-tech sophistication, Amazon's vast e-commerce business is dependent on an army of workers operating in warehouses they now fear are contaminated with the coronavirus. The surge of orders is testing the limits of Amazon's vaunted distribution system and forcing changes to the company's relationship with its employees. While Amazon's workers are not unionized, the crisis has given workplace organizers unexpected leverage to demand better pay, better sick leave, and more of a voice in how the company is run. Small groups of employees have been protesting working conditions in Michigan and New York.


Locked Down, and More Vulnerable to Abuse

The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in call and online requests for help since the lockdown. Campaigners have warned the restrictions could heighten domestic tension and cut off escape routes. Police are emphasizing that those facing abuse at home during the lockdown should still report their experiences to police and seek support from domestic abuse services.


Does the Virus Hit Women Differently? The U.S. Isn't Keeping Track

Data from other countries shows that more men are dying from the virus than women--a discrepancy that should inform the response and vaccine research in the U.S. Yet it isn't. Based on data, we know that older adults--aged 60 and above--are at greater risk of dying from it. Data from China, Italy, and South Korea shows we are now seeing that men seem to have higher fatality rates. However, even with ramped-up testing with reams of data, the U.S. is not monitoring the sex breakdown of the virus. This kind of information--or lack thereof--matters, because men and women are likely to have fundamentally different reactions to the virus, vaccines, and treatment, health experts say. Research has shown that the SARS, influenza, Ebola, and HIV viruses all affect men and women differently. Despite this, the coronavirus vaccine trials underway in the U.S. aren't really considering sex. Sex data blind spots can be traced back to the fact that, historically, science didn't study the female body.


Black Americans Bear the Brunt as Deaths Climb

As a virus, COVID-19 does not discriminate, but a patchwork of data appears to show that the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, several of which are reporting infection rates that outpace their populations. What it really comes down to is economic conditions and people living in highly dense areas. The lack of information has hamstrung efforts to combat the virus, particularly in communities that have had complicated relationships with health care providers or have significant language barriers. The virus has hit many Black, Latino, and immigrant-rich neighborhoods especially hard because residents there often work in essential jobs in grocery stores, delivering food, and operating public transit, leaving them more exposed to the virus, according to public health experts. They also typically live in closer quarters, making it harder to practice social distancing.


President Ousts Official Policing Relief Spending

President Trump has moved to oust the leader of a new panel of watchdogs charged with overseeing how his administration spends trillions of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief, in the latest step in an abruptly unfolding White House power play over semi-independent inspectors general across the government. Trump has recently been making a series of changes affecting inspectors general, who are supposed to serve as a check on the government within agencies by hunting for waste, fraud, and abuse. Opponents say this appears to be part of an alarming trend by the Trump administration to remove independent inspector generals and replace them with the president's loyalists.


Parents Withholding Custody Over Fears of Infection in Front-Line Workers

Doctors, firefighters, and others who risk exposure to COVID-19 are being taken to court by ex-spouses who want to keep them away from their children. This issue is arising across the country, as a growing number of parents have begun to withhold access to their children from former spouses or partners over fears of infection. For health care or other essential workers, the battles are infused with heightened controversy. Some say they shouldn't be punished for doing crucial services; their counterparts argue that the jobs pose too great a risk to other family members. Amid the pandemic, the landscape of family law, which varies across the country, has become more uneven, with few guidelines to address the current safety concerns.


WHO Faces Ire of Trump, and Warning of Defunding

President Trump lashed out on Tuesday at the WHO, choosing a new political enemy to attack and threatening to withhold funding from a premier health institution even as a deadly virus ravages nations around the globe. In effect, Trump sought to denounce the WHO for the very missteps and failures that have been leveled at him and his administration. Public health experts have said the president's public denials of the virus's dangers slowed the American response, which included delayed testing and a failure to stockpile protective gear. In fact, the W.H.O. sounded the alarm in the earliest days of the crisis, declaring a "public health emergency of international concern" a day before the U.S. secretary of health and human services announced the country's own public health emergency and weeks before Trump declared a national emergency.


With the Supreme Court Sequestered, A Docket of Major Cases Sits Idle

Since the pandemic started, the Justices have stopped doing the most public part of their job, hearing arguments, and the courthouse is closed to the public. The last 20 arguments of the term, which had been scheduled for March and April, have been postponed indefinitely. This has left major cases in limbo, notably ones on subpoenas from prosecutors and Congress for President Trump's financial records, which was scheduled to be heard on March 31. Those cases were going to be a test of independence of the Court even before the coronavirus complicated matters. Very little is known about how the Justices are conducting their work in the midst of the pandemic or how they plan to proceed. Chief Justice Roberts's next challenge will be how to handle the postponed arguments. Rescheduling most of them to the fall would seem harmless. However, deciding whether Trump's accountants and bankers must turn over his tax returns and other financial records is more urgent. Deferring decisions on those cases until after the presidential election would strike many as a partisan act meant to aid Trump. What to do about the postponed cases will almost certainly be resolved by the full Court, either by consensus or by majority vote, unlike ordinarily, when the Chief Justice takes the leading role in scheduling arguments.


At Least 16,780,000 Americans Have Lost Their Jobs. It Took 21 Days

The harsh economic toll of the social distancing measures put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic was underscored last week when the Labor Department reported that another 6.6 million people had filed for unemployment benefits last week. That brought the number of Americans who had lost their jobs over the past 3 weeks to more than 16 million, which is more job losses than the most recent recession produced over 2 years. The dire figures suggested that Washington's recent $2 trillion relief package was not working quickly enough to halt the economic devastation and the hemorrhaging of jobs in nearly every type of industry.


As Multitudes Lose Jobs, Rent Comes to Forefront

As the economic shutdown pares tenants' incomes, April payments have been reduced, deferred or withheld. Some landlords now see their properties at risk. Many landlords are working out payment plans and using security deposits as a stopgap while directing tenants to the emerging patchwork of local, state, and federal assistance programs, and it's only going to get worse. Nearly 10 million people have filed unemployment claims over the past 2 weeks. It's too early to gauge how broadly these numbers will translate to the loss of rent. Many tenants are within the grace period before their rent is declared late. Some can stitch things together for a while by getting deferrals, applying their security deposits or paying with credit cards. Some tenants are simply moving out. College students are breaking leases to move home. Laid-off workers are showing up at rental offices to exchange their keys for their deposits, saying they are moving in with family members.


Small-Business Borrowers Frustrated by Loan Delays

There is a growing backlog of application for the U.S. program designed to funnel at least $350 billion in relief to small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. The massive demand within the first week led to several time-consuming bottlenecks at lenders and with the Small Business Administration portal the companies use to get loans approved. The two biggest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, had a combined 625,000 requests for $80 billion in loans as of last Tuesday. Only a small fraction has actually been paid out so far.


Minorities May Struggle to Obtain Relief Loans

Minority business owners have always struggled to secure bank loans. Now, many banks want to deal only with existing customers when making loans through the government's $349 billion aid package. There are thousands of small-business owners at risk of being shut out of the government effort, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, because of limits set by lenders grappling with overwhelming demand. These loans, which do not have to be repaid if the money is used for payroll, rent or mortgage expenses, could be a lifeline for struggling businesses--if they can get them. Minority-owned businesses often have weaker banking relationships than their white-owned counterparts--one legacy of the practice of redlining, or refusing to lend to people in communities of color. Research shows that black and Latino business owners are denied loans at higher rates. Anticipating that minority business owners could struggle to tap federal aid; some lawmakers are proposing ways to earmark additional funds specifically for minority-owned businesses.


Pandemic Pushes White House to Delay Tougher Work Rules for Food Stamps

Under heavy criticism for pressing for food stamp cuts during an economic meltdown, the Trump administration now says that it will hold off on stricter work requirements for adults without children during the national emergency. Initially, the Trump administration planned to appeal a court decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which issued a temporary court injunction on its work requirements rule, which were to go into effect on April 1, but it has since changed its tune. Congress then stepped in, and in one of its economic stabilization packages, waived the work requirement for the duration of the national emergency, in addition to another month. Federal and state levels need to have the flexibility to address the nutritional needs residents and ensure their well-being through programs like SNAP.


A Wave of Hunger Hits America, and Food Banks Are Swamped

Millions are flooding a charitable system that was never intended to handle a nationwide crisis. Demand for food assistance is rising at an extraordinary rate, just as the nation's food banks are being struck by shortages of both donated food and volunteer workers. The National Guard is helping out and providing safety during distributions. Feeding America, the nation's largest network of food banks, with more than 200 affiliates, has projected a $1.4 billion shortfall in the next 6 months alone. At exactly the moment when more Americans find themselves turning to food charities, the charities are facing shortages of their own.


Empty Shelves, but Farms Put Food to Waste

After weeks of concern about shortages in grocery stores and mad scrambles to find the last box of pasta or toilet paper roll, many of the nation's largest farms are struggling with another ghastly effect of the pandemic. They are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell. The closing of restaurants, hotels, and schools has left some farmers with no buyers for more than half their crops. Even as retailers see spikes in food sales to Americans who are now eating nearly every meal at home, the increases are not enough to absorb all of the perishable food that was planted weeks ago and intended for schools and businesses. The amount of waste is staggering. Many farmers say they have donated part of the surplus to food banks and Meals on Wheels programs, which have been overwhelmed with demand, but there is only such much perishable food that charities with limited numbers of refrigerators and volunteers can absorb.


Those Who Feed the U.S. Fear Their Lives Are Being Put at Risk

The coronavirus pandemic has reached the processing plants where workers typically stand elbow to elbow to do the low-wage work of cutting, deboning, and packing the chicken and beef that Americans eat. Some plants have offered financial incentives to keep them on the job, but the virus's swift spread is causing illness and forcing plants to close. Smithfield foods' pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, announced last Thursday that it would close temporarily after more than 80 employees tested positive for the virus. Workers have come down with COVID-19 in several poultry plants in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Industry analysts said that the plant closures were unlikely to result in serious disruptions to the food supply. At some plants, workers have staged walkouts over concerns that they are not being properly protected.


Navy Captain Fired After Dissent Is Now Sick

The military has long adhered to a rigid chain of command and tolerated no dissent expressed outside official channels. Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the skipper of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, knew he was up against those imperatives when he asked for help for nearly 5,000 crew members trapped in a petri dish of a warship in the middle of a pandemic. Colleagues say that the mistake could cost him his career. The Navy's top brass clashed about what to do with then acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly overruling and saying Capt. Crozier had cracked under pressure and needed to be relieved of duty. Those who have known and served with Crozier disagreed. Now Crozier is in quarantine in Guam. The removal of Crozier could have a chilling effect. The evacuation Captain Crozier sought for his crew is now in motion.


Acting Navy Secretary Resigned Post Day After Criticizing a Stricken Crew

Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly said that Capt. Brett Crozier was either "too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer" in a speech to soldiers on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. He has since apologized for the remarks. Crozier was relieved of his command last Thursday and in a news conference, Modly defended the decision as his own and insisted it was made because Crozier went outside the chain of command. When the transcript of his talk to the soldiers was made public, Modly first stood by his comments, but several hours later reversed course and apologized for his remarks. Modly's new statement came after Trump addressed the controversy at a news conference, saying he planned to intervene.

Lawmakers had called for Modly to leave after the profanity-laced speech was leaked to the media. The Navy has weathered its share of crises, and in the past few months saw a previous Navy secretary forced out over his handling of a war crimes case, and the man selected to be its top admiral instead retired due to an improper professional relationship with a former staffer who was accused of making unwanted sexual advances to several women. The resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, just a day after giving his scathing comments about the former Capt. of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, leaves the service lurching in the middle of a devastating pandemic that has roiled global markets, upended everyday life, and left tens of thousands dead around the world. It also projects the wrong image to America's enemies and allies, a cascading series of leadership changes calls into question the stability of America's sea service.



Gratitude, and Immunity, as the First U.S. Survivors Tiptoe into a New World

The first large wave of COVID-19 survivors, likely to be endowed with a power known to infectious disease specialists as adaptive immunity, is emerging. Most Americans are still desperate to avoid contracting the virus as the number of known cases nears half a million. Many who have overcome the infection, including some of America's newly unemployed, donate blood to biotech companies and researchers seeking to manufacture treatments from their antibodies.


Some States Awaiting Medical Gear Instead Sees It 'Swept Up by FEMA'

Officials in at least 6 states are accusing the federal government of quietly diverting their orders for coronavirus medical equipment. States have been making their own orders for ventilators, masks, and other personal protective equipment since Trump told them in March not to rely on the national stockpile for medical supplies. Trump has also instructed FEMA to lead efforts to distribute equipment according to priority. However state and health leaders in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Kentucky, Texas, and Florida are now accusing the federal government of intercepting and diverting their equipment orders without explaining why.


Staggering Outbreak is Showing Signs of Slowing

Even as medical teams struggle to save an onslaught of gravely ill coronavirus patients and deaths hit new high, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations seemed to be leveling off in New York state. Yet early statistical signs the crisis might be peaking provided little comfort to weary doctors and nurses on the front lines of the outbreak, as hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units overflowing with COVID-19 patients. New York accounted for more than one third of U.S. confirmed coronavirus cases to date, and nearly half the cumulative death toll. Governor Cuomo has pointed to slowing rates of coronavirus hospitalizations, intensive care admissions, and ventilator intubations as signs social distancing measures imposed last month were working.


As Not Everyone is Being Counted, the Numbers Don't Tell the Whole Story

The official statistics paint a partial picture and may understate the death toll. Epidemiologists, city officials, and medical personnel say that the numbers reported in the media are likely to be far below New York City's actual death toll. The data on deaths of people in their homes or on the street show that the State's statistics also don't tell the whole story. The official death count numbers presented each day by the State are based on hospital data. The City has a different measure: any patient who has had a positive coronavirus test and then later dies (whether at home or in the hospital) is being counted as coronavirus death. A staggering number of people are dying at home with presumed cases of coronavirus, and it does not appear that the State has a clear mechanism for factoring those victims into official death tallies. Paramedics are not performing tests on those they pronounce dead. There aren't really any mechanisms in place for having an immediate, efficient method to calculate the death toll during a pandemic. Normal procedures are usually abandoned quickly in such a crisis.


In Region's Nursing Homes, 'Residents Are Sitting Ducks'

In New York, the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak, the virus has snatched lives in every part of society. The virus has perhaps been cruelest at nursing homes and other facilities for older people, where a combination of factors--an aging or frail population, chronic understaffing, shortages of protective gear, and constant physical contact between workers and residents--has hastened its spread. In all, nearly 2,000 residents of nursing homes have died in the outbreak in the region, and thousands of other residents are sick. As of last Friday, more than half of New York's 613 licensed nursing homes had reported coronavirus infections, with 4,630 total positive cases and 1,439 deaths. The actual infection rate in nursing homes is almost certainly higher than the data indicate because few homes have the capacity to test residents. The assumption among many in the industry is that every nursing home in the region contains people with COVID-19. The crisis in nursing homes is occurring in virus hot spots across the country, with infections growing in places like Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.


Risking Lives to Vote

On Tuesday, Wisconsin became the only state to insist on holding its primary as planned, forcing many residents to risk spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus while exercising their right to vote, as lines at polling places stretched several city blocks and wait times were upwards of 2 hours. The election was held despite warnings from public health officials that this could be the worse week of the ongoing pandemic. It also came over the objections of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who unsuccessfully sought to delay the in-person voting, only to see his executive order overturned by the state Supreme Court after Republican leaders in the legislature accused him of exceeding his authority. In addition to the primary for president, the election included a Supreme Court contest and thousands of local races and referendums. Unlike any other election, however, the outcome of the polling won't be revealed for nearly a week to allow time for processing the massive numbers of absentee ballots that voters were encouraged to cast in the weeks leading up to the vote.


Virus Raging, GOP Fights Mail-In Votes

Today, even in the face of a global pandemic, the GOP seems determined to maintain its voting leverage. The rapid spread of the virus has led to numerous statewide stay-at-home orders, with more than 13,000 dead and 400,000 infected in the U.S. This will have a major impact on the 2020 election. The Democrats have sought a range of prophylactic measures, such as vote-by-mail, to ensure that the right to vote does not have to compete with the right to live. However, Republicans are trying to use the virus to suppress the vote of many and constrain the rights of American voters.


Jail in Chicago is Top U.S. Hot Spot with More Than 350 Confirmed Cases

At least 1,324 confirmed coronavirus cases are tied to prisons and jails across the U.S., including at least 32 deaths. In a little over 2 weeks, the virus has infected more than 350 people at the Cook County jail, one of the nation's largest. The jail in Chicago is now the nation's largest-known source of coronavirus infections, with more confirmed cases than the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a nursing home in Kirkland, WA or the cluster centered on New Rochelle, NY. 238 inmates and 115 staff members have tested positive for the virus, but those figures most likely downplay the actual problem, because the vast majority of the jail's 4,500 inmates have not been tested.


Washington State to Send 400 Ventilators Back

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has said that he will return 400 ventilators so that other states, like New York, can use them for coronavirus cases. Washington received 500 ventilators from the federal government's Strategic National Stockpile. The state recently purchased more than 750 additional ventilators that will be arriving in the coming weeks. Inslee's announcement came a day after Oregon Governor Kate Brown said that her state would sent 140 ventilators to New York. Washington was the first state to report a confirmed coronavirus case in late January and at one point had the highest number of confirmed cases in the country. Inslee was also among the first governors to issue social distancing measures.


Abortion Groups Appeal Texas Restriction Ruling

A federal judge has once again cleared the way for some abortions to resume in Texas despite the governor's order restricting them during the coronavirus outbreak. Judge Lee Yeakel blocked the state from enforcing the order specifically "as a categorical ban on all abortions provided by Plaintiffs" and specifically against those providing medication abortions or providing surgical abortions to abortion-seekers who would reach 22 weeks since their last menstrual periods--the cutoff to receive an abortion in Texas--by the order's expiration on April 21. The ruling would also apply to surgical abortions performed on those who, by April 21, would reach 18 weeks since their last menstrual periods, rendering them eligible for abortions only at ambulatory surgery centers, and would be "likely unable to reach an ambulatory surgical center in Texas or to obtain abortion care," Yeakel wrote. "As a minimum, this is an undue burden on a woman's right to a pre-viability abortion," he wrote Thursday.


Smokers and Vapers May Be at Greater Risk of Getting Coronavirus

Early pathological studies from the pandemic have revealed some risk factors for the most severe forms of COVID-19. Among the most important: being older and having a chronic underlying illness. Smoking and vaping are also being actively investigated as risk factors A wealth of research already suggests that smoking suppresses immune function in the lungs. It is also known to increase the risk of influenza.


General News

Supreme Court Blocks Extended Voting

In a pair of extraordinary ruling, the highest courts in Wisconsin and the nation split along ideological lines to reject Democratic efforts to defer voting in last Tuesday's elections in the state, given the coronavirus pandemic. Election law experts said the stark divisions in the rulings did not bode well for faith in the rule of law and American democracy. Election cases need courts to be seen by the public as nonpartisan referees of the competing candidates and political parties, but these split votes make them seem just as politically divided as the litigants. This could threaten the legitimacy of both the election and the courts. When the Supreme Court rules on emergency applications, it almost never gives reasons, but the ourt's conservative majority spent four pages explaining why it refused to extend absentee voting in Tuesday's elections. It is not really known why the Court broke with usual practices. The majority called it "a narrow, technical question about the absentee ballot process."


Justices Weigh in on Traffic Stops and Age Bias

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with older federal workers, making it easier for those over 40 to sue for age discrimination. The 8-to-1 ruling rejected a Trump administration position that sought to dramatically limit the legal recourse available to federal workers. The Justices said that federal law clearly gives federal workers protection from any discrimination based on age. The Court said that Congress had deliberately given federal workers more protection than workers in the private sector or workers in state and local governments.

In a separate opinion, the Court, by an 8-to-1 vote, upheld a warrantless traffic stop by a sheriff's deputy in Kansas who based the stop on the assumption that the driver, defendant Charlie Glover, owned the car; Glover's license had been revoked. The Kansas Supreme Court had previously ruled that when a driver has committed no infractions, police need something more than an assumption in order to have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is the owner and is driving without a license.


Sanders Ends Bid as Biden Gets Set To Battle Trump

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign, clearing the way for rival Joe Biden to secure the Democratic nomination and challenge Donald Trump in November. The 78-year-old democratic socialist shook up the 2020 race with his relentless pursuit of "economic justice" for all Americans and a demand for universal health care. Sanders, who challenged Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination in 2016, mounted a formidable 2020 bid. He raised huge amounts of money from record numbers of donors, becoming the frontrunner early this year and earing the most votes in the first 3 state-wide contests, but he was eclipsed by a surging Biden who won the vast majority of remaining primaries.


Fired for Alerting Congress of Whistle-Blower, He Urges Others 'to Bravely Speak Up'

Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, was dismissed by President Trump last week. In his resignation letter, Atkinson urged whistleblowers to "bravely speak up" and reminded them "there is no disgrace in doing so." Atkinson infuriated Trump when he alerted Congress to a whistleblower's complaint accusing the president of soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election, which was the catalyst for Trump's impeachment.


Inspector General Pick Casts Doubt on Powers Allowed of Congress

Senators are responding to President Trump's firing of the intelligence community's top watchdog with a muddled message, with some calling for hearings and others saying that lawmakers have far more important issues to tackle. The scattershot response suggests that Congress is unlikely to urgently address Trump's decision to sack Michael Atkinson, the former inspector general, and it underscores how difficult it will be for the Senate and House to conduct oversight of the surprising firing, especially in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate is scheduled to return to regular session on April 20, but several senators have cast doubt on that timeline given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Barr Distorts Facts of Inspector General's Firing

The attorney general misstated key facts in explaining the dismissed official's handling of the whistle-blower complaint that prompted impeachment. Attorney General Barr endorsed and defended Trump's firing of Michael K. Atkinson, the intelleigence community inspector general, in an interview with Fox News. While making his case, Barr made several claims that are subject to scrutiny, such as a dubious account of what happened. He also claimed that the FBI had opened its investigation into whether Trump campaign officials were coordinating with Russia's election interference "without any basis." However, they did so on the basis of certain facts. Barr has repeatedly come under fire for misleading the public about the findings and analysis of the special counsel who eventually took over the case, Robert S. Mueller III.


Change in Press Secretaries, but Handling Briefings Still Isn't a Key Role

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is leaving the job without ever having briefed the press. She is returning to the East Wing as first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff as Trump's new Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shakes up the communications team in the West Wing. Kayleigh McEnany, who served as Trump's 2020 campaign spokeswoman, will replace Grisham as White House press secretary. It became clear to aides that a shakeup in the communications team could be coming after Deputy Communications Director Jessica Ditto abruptly announced that she was leaving her job last week. With Trump and senior administration officials directly briefing the press on coronavirus each day, the question of how and when McEnany restarts briefings is much less urgent in the press shop shake-up.


Falsehoods and Facts on Voting By Mail

As the coronavirus pandemic accelerates a national trend towards voting by mail, experts say it can be conducted safely, despite Republican claims of corruption. With concerns mounting over how the country can conduct elections during a pandemic and Democrats pressing for alternatives to in-person voting, President Trump has begun pushing a false argument that has circulated among conservatives for years--that voting by mail is a recipe for fraud. Studies have shown that all forms of voting fraud are extremely rare in the U.S. States that vote entirely by mail see little fraud; 5 states, including the Republican bastion of Utah, now conduct all elections almost entirely by mail. Republicans claim that voting by mail gives Democrats an advantage, asserting that easing restrictions invites voter fraud. There are also some Democrats who have also raised security concerns.


G.O.P. Senator, Under Fire for Trades, Says She'll Divest from Stocks

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler again defended her investments, denying accusations that she has tried to profit from the coronavirus crisis using inside information, but she has said she will divest from individual stocks and move her money into mutual and exchange-traded funds. As a freshman senator, she was already in a competitive race to keep her seat and has since faced weeks of attacks from her rivals in both parties and scrutiny from the news media over millions of dollars' worth of stock trades her portfolio made just before the coronavirus pandemic roiled the financial markets.


FEMA Demands Homes That Don't Flood, Towns Aren't Listening

If one wants publicly subsidized flood insurance, one can't build a home that's likely to flood. Yet local governments around the country, which are responsible for enforcing the rule, have flouted the requirements, accounting for as many as a quarter of a million insurance policies in violation. Those structures accounted for more than $1 billion in flood claims during the past decade. That toll is likely to increase as climate change makes flooding more frequent and intense.


New Tactic: In Arbitration, Raise Volume

There are many customers and employees who are unhappy with major corporations, but they are forced to hash out those differences in arbitration. Arbitration clauses bar employees at many companies from joining together to mount class-action lawsuits. Lawyers are now finding a possible solution by filing tens of thousands of arbitration claims all at once, because many companies can't handle the caseload. Driven partly by a legal reformist spirit and entrepreneurial zeal, lawyers are testing a new weapon in arbitration: sheer volume. As companies face a flood of claims, they are employing new strategies to thwart the very process that they have upheld as the optimal way to resolve disputes. Even as Supreme Court rulings over the last 2 decades have enshrined arbitration as the primary way that companies can hash out disputes, giving them enormous sway, consumer advocates and labor rights groups have criticized arbitration's inequities.


As Limits Ease, Wuhan Limps into New Life

Last Wednesday, China ended its lockdown of Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus first emerged and a potent symbol in a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people, shaken the global economy, and thrown daily life into upheaval across the planet. The city has reopened after more than 10 weeks, but its recovery will be watched worldwide for lessons on how populations move past pain and calamity of such staggering magnitude. The trauma of the virus can linger for decades.


China Citing Fewer Cases, Tries to Rewrite Its Role in Crisis

For months, the Chinese government's propaganda machine had been fending off criticism of Beijing's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, and finally, it seemed to be finding an audience. In recent days, foreign leaders, even in friendly nations like Iran, have questioned China's reported infections and deaths. As the pandemic unleashes the worst global crisis in decades, China has been locked in a public relations tug-of-war on the international stage. China's critics, including the Trump administration, have blamed the Communist Party's authoritarian leadership for exacerbating the outbreak by initially trying to conceal it. Now, China is trying to rewrite its role by leveraging its increasingly sophisticated global propaganda machine to cast itself as the munificent, responsible leader that triumphed where others have stumbled. What narrative prevails has implications far beyond an international blame game.


E.U.'s Top Court Orders Poland to Suspend Panel on Discipline of Judges

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on last Wednesday ordered Poland to suspend a disciplinary chamber, which critics say would allow the government to investigate and punish judges for their court rulings. The chamber allows for too much political influence, the ECJ has argued. The ECJ cites a lack of independency and breach of EU law.


Rising Temperatures Hasten Bleaching of Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef has suffered the most widespread bleaching ever recorded due to rising temperatures caused by climate change. It is the third severe coral bleaching event for Australia's iconic reef in just 5 years. Corals along the entire 1,400-mile stretch have been severely affected. The bleaching has been caused solely by a summer of extreme heat, unlike in past years, when El Ninos contributed to the conditions. When sea temperatures spike, corals expel the marine algae, called zooxanthellae, which live inside their tissues, giving them vibrant colors and food supply via photosynthesis. Expelling the algae is what turns the coral white, and without food supply they can starve. The first recorded mass bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef was in 1998, then the hottest year on record. Since then, 4 more bleaching events have occurred, in 2002, 2016, 2017, and 2020 as the temperature records continue to be broken.


Nepalis Forced to Flee Villages as Himalayan Climate Changes

Nepal is ground zero for the impacts of climate change as rising temperatures in the Himalayas threaten the survival climate migrants. The rising temperatures are causing crops to dwindle and bodies of water to dry up. As a result, migrants in northern Nepal who were forced to flee their homes because of climate change are struggling to survive. Once home to fertile farmland and crop fields, the Himalayas are now mostly barren because extreme heat has since destroyed the land and soil and threatened food security in the region.


British Leader Exists Intensive Care as Nation Faces Long Lockdown

The prime minister's move from the Intensive Care Unit to a ward in a London hospital offered a ray of hope for a country still reeling from the trauma of the coronavirus pandemic. Yet the country still faces weeks of lockdown ahead as the death toll from the virus approached 8,000. Despite the good news, Raab, acting leader, appeared to be adjusting to the reality that Johnson will still be convalescing as the government faces one of the most sensitive decisions of the pandemic: When, and how, to reopen the British economy. The cabinet plans to make that assessment at the end of this week.


Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Released from Prison After Term of Nearly 5 Years

Wang Quanzhang, a leading Chinese human rights lawyer, was arrested in 2015 in a sweeping crackdown on more than 200 lawyers and government critics. He has now been released from prison after almost 5 years behind bars, but has yet to return home to his family in the Chinese capital as he is being quarantined as a precaution against the coronavirus. His wife fears that Wang would be placed under house arrest despite his release and would be subject to surveillance. Wang's initial detention came as part of the so-called "709" crackdown. Wang worked for a now-closed law firm that defended political activists and victims of land seizures.


As Tourism Vanishes in African Countries, Emboldened Poachers are Moving In

Official lockdowns and the loss of tourism revenue create new challenges for protecting Africa's wildlife. Conservancies depend heavily on money from wildlife safari tourism, which is a cornerstone of Kenya's economy. In normal times, travel and tourism provide more than a million jobs nationwide, but now that industry is at a standstill. Many conservationists worry that one consequence will be increased wildlife poaching--either to provide food for hungry families or for illegal sales--putting rangers in even greater danger. Conservancies are having to decrease the number of anti-poaching patrols and ask workers to agree to a 5% pay cut. They expect increased poaching by villagers for bushmeat because it is cheaper to kill animals for meat than buy it.


April 16, 2020

New York Extends The Life Of Its Film Tax Credit Program, But Makes It More Restrictive

By Marc Jacobson, Esq.

When Governor Cuomo signed into law the budget for New York State on April 3, 2020, not only did New York become the first state to address federal legislation regarding the CARES Act, which provides financial relief to businesses and others as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the State amended the film tax credit program in several important ways.

These changes became effective on April 1, 2020. Applications filed prior to that date will be governed under the old law.

First, the amount of the benefit to be received by the production company, for production costs, is reduced from 30% of qualifying below the line expenses to 25% of qualifying below the line expenses. Only those films which shoot within New York at a proper facility or otherwise shoot in the State in a manner to qualify for the credit are eligible. This reduces the amount of the benefit by about 17% as compared to what was available prior to these changes. As a practical matter, the rule of thumb that some producers use that the New York State credit is worth about 18% of the total budget of the picture, now makes the credit worth about 15% of the total budget of the picture, in round numbers.

Second, the post-production credit is also reduced from 30% to 25% of qualifying expenses. If the film will qualify for both production and postproduction credits, the eligible expenses for the tax benefit are different from those eligible based on an application for only postproduction credits. For example, when applying for tax benefits for a production credit, including postproduction work to be done in New York State, the postproduction expenses against which the credit may be applied do not include the cost of music. However, if the film shoots outside New York State, and comes to the State for postproduction work, and applies for the tax credit, music costs may be included in the costs against which the tax credit may apply. Careful attention must still be paid in calculating the benefit with regard to what is eligible and what is not eligible, and how that might benefit the film.

Third, for films shot in the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Rockland, Nassau, and Suffolk counties (the "New York City Metropolitan Area"), in order to qualify for the production credit, the film must have a budget of at least $1 million. This means the films shot in the New York City Metropolitan Area with a budget under the SAG-AFTRA ultra-low budget agreement (under $300,000) and the Modified Low Budget Agreement (generally up to $700,000 and with diversity qualification, up to $965,000) will not be eligible for the tax benefit. However, if those productions occur outside the New York City Metropolitan Area, they may be eligible for the tax credit as discussed below.

Fourth, for films shot outside the New York City Metropolitan Area, the minimum budget must be $250,000. These minimums were not part of the law before this month.

Fifth, the life of the program was extended from 2024 to 2025, at the lower rate but with the same $420 million annual fund. Payouts of the larger amounts will still be made over 3 years.

While New York still welcomes the production of films, in important ways it has reduced what was a significant benefit and big draw for productions. Those smaller independent films may well be driven out of the New York City Metropolitan Area and upstate to more favorable areas, or even to other states.

Shooting within the State but outside the New York City Metropolitan Area still carries with it an additional 10% credit for certain labor costs. This alone attracts productions to areas like Buffalo and Rochester, where skilled crews already live.

This new law may also push more productions to neighboring states, such as New Jersey, where there is a 30-35% credit for qualifying expenses, both above and below the line, through a transferable tax credit but subject to certain minimums. Pennsylvania's credit is between 25-30%, also with certain restrictions and requirements. In Connecticut, a qualified spend of over $1 million may also allow the production to secure 30% benefit on qualifying expenses.

Monetizing New York's credits for use in defraying production costs are still fraught with challenges if any of the members of the partnership or LLC are liable to New York State for taxes or other liabilities. For more on that visit: https://www.marcjacobson.com/film/how-to-monetize-the-new-york-state-film-tax-credit-program-for-production

The website for the New York State Film tax credit may be found here: https://esd.ny.gov/new-york-state-film-tax-credit-program-production

New York

April 22, 2020

Week In Review

By Chantelle A. Gyamfi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media/Technology, Coronavirus, and General News:


Katy Perry Back in Court For "Dark Horse" Dispute

A rapper who claims that Katy Perry copied his song to create her hit "Dark Horse" is headed to the Ninth Circuit, appealing a high-profile ruling last month that tossed out the jury's decision in the copyright infringement case. The plaintiffs claim that the song infringed their Christian rap song. The Court found that the plaintiffs couldn't satisfy the extrinsic test for assessing whether the works are substantially similar, and that the songs only shared common musical elements that cannot be protected. The decision relied on the Ninth Circuit's recent Led Zeppelin decision.

The case is: Gray, et. al. vs. Perry, et. al., case: 2:15-cv-05642, available at https://www.law360.com/articles/1264505

Hollywood's Backstage Workers Try to Soldier On

As with much of life around the world, film and television production has ground to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic -- leaving stars, stylists, directors, studio chiefs, grips, writers, set builders, trailer cutters, agents, and scores of other specialized Hollywood workers at home and confronting the same question almost everyone has: Now what? Across the industry, shooting is not expected to resume until August, in part because of the time it will take to reassemble casts and crews once the coronavirus threat subsides. That leaves a vast number of people without work. Hollywood supports 2.5 million jobs, according to the Motion Picture Association of America; many workers are freelancers, getting paid project to project. "I keep telling myself, 'Panicking is not going to help,'" said Muffett Brinkman, an associate casting director who has been unemployed for more than a month. "Hopefully things restart before I'm completely financially ruined." She is a member of Teamsters Local 399, where the hourly minimum for her job category is $18.45.


Virus Freezes Festivals + Fashion

Festivals like Coachella have been postponed, leaving scores of online fashion retailers with a mass of unsold inventory and unpaid suppliers. Scores of other festivals have also fallen off the calendar, leaving musicians without stages to play on, millions of attendees set to stay home -- and fashion brands with mountains of unsold denim hot pants, fringed skirts, and sequin cropped tops. "For some brands, festivals aren't just a season like summer or fall, but the season of the year to build relationships with a certain kind of shopper, who buy fun new extra additions for their wardrobe that they wouldn't normally be tempted by," said Lucie Greene, a trend forecaster and the founder of the Light Years consultancy. "They define an entire aesthetic of collections and products for some labels." Given that some events, like Coachella, have been tentatively rescheduled for fall, it is possible that the lockdown measures will be only a short-term blip in the festival fashion business. Yet after months of social distancing, will festivalgoers want to rush back to crowded venues?


Ticketmaster's Policy Under Fire as Customers Demand Refunds

Live Nation Entertainment, the global concert giant that owns Ticketmaster, announced a program on Friday to offer refunds and coupons for canceled and postponed shows, after weeks of criticism online and growing pressure from lawmakers. According to Live Nation's plan, which starts May 1, people can obtain refunds for canceled or rescheduled shows. Like another plan instituted this week by AEG Presents, Live Nation's biggest corporate rival, refunds for postponed shows will be available for 30 days once new dates have been set. For events that already have new dates, the customers' 30-day refund window will start May 1. Live Nation has also offered incentives for its customers to hold on to their tickets -- and therefore let the company to hold on to revenue. For canceled shows, Live Nation is offering its customers credits worth 150% of their tickets' value to use on future events. Customers who decide to go to shows when they are rescheduled will also receive credits, but for lesser amounts that may vary for each event. Live Nation's program applies only to events in the United States.




Mashable Wins Motion to Dismiss Photographer's Infringement Claim

Photographer Stephanie Sinclair alleged copyright infringement against the website Mashable over use of "embedded" Instagram posts. The court granted Mashable's motion to dismiss, finding that the photographer gave Instagram broad power to relicense works she had posted. This decision was based on Instagram's terms of service.

The case is Sinclair v. Ziff Davis, LLC (S.D.N.Y.) Case 1:18-cv-00790-KMW



Broadway Fundraiser is On Again

A Broadway fund-raiser to benefit entertainment workers whose livelihoods have been imperiled by the coronavirus was rescheduled after a labor union retreated from a demand that musicians be paid for the streaming of the previously recorded event. "We believe all musicians should be fairly compensated for their work all of the time, but we also believe that we must do everything possible to support entertainment workers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic," Ray Hair, international president of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, said in a statement Monday. "We fully support the union musicians who have graciously offered to forgo all required payments to allow this charity event to move forward." The event's purpose is to raise money for the theater nonprofit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. It will feature a streamed benefit concert, recorded in November, in which 79 singers and dancers, and 15 musicians, performed songs from Disney musicals. The actor Ryan McCartan will host from home, weaving in live interviews.


Brooklyn Academy of Music Executives Take Steep Pay Cuts

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) announced that it has canceled its programming and events through June because of the coronavirus pandemic. To help offset the lost ticket revenue, which BAM estimates will total $7.4 million, the organization's president and executives have agreed to pay reductions of up to 40%. BAM has been largely shut down since March 13, when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a ban on gatherings of more than 500 people. Discussions are ongoing about what the revenue shortfall caused by almost 4 months of cancellations will ultimately mean for Bam's employees.


Comic Creators Unite to Benefit Stores

A large group of comic book creators are banding together to help support comic book retailers whose business have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Using the Twitter hashtag #Creators4Comics, more than 120 creators will be auctioning comic books, artwork, and one-of-a-kind experiences. The auctions will benefit the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, which is accepting applications from comic book shops and bookstores for emergency relief.


Louis Vuitton Reopens U.S. Plants to Make Masks

Louis Vuitton company officials announced that their manufacturing workshops in the United States -- specifically in Texas, New Jersey, and California -- will start making protective masks. Artisans at the workshops will work to create cotton, nonsurgical masks that can be washed, reused, and adjusted, according to the company.




National Football League Relaxes Marijuana Restrictions

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, players who test positive for marijuana will no longer be suspended. Testing will be limited to the first 2 weeks of training camp instead of from April to August, and the threshold for the amount of 9-delta tetrahydrocannabinol -- or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana -- needed to trigger a positive test will be raised fourfold. In adopting the changes, the league, which is not known for its liberal views, caught up to and in some ways leapfrogged Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Associatiom, and other leagues that had already eased their rules as acceptance of marijuana became more common in many parts of the country.


Doping Tests Go Virtual

Since no one knows when it will be safe to start testing athletes in person again, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) started an experiment 2 weeks ago, to see if sample collections could be done virtually. Instead of overseeing the process in person, the doping control officers are doing their jobs by phone and video conferencing. The agency did not have to search hard for volunteer subjects, including athletes who are favored to medal at the Olympics next year in Tokyo. Katie Ledecky, one of the world's most dominant swimmers, signed on, as did the runners Noah Lyles, Allyson Felix, Emma Coburn, and Aliphine Tuliamuk. About a dozen others are participating, said Travis Tygart, the chief executive of USADA. Though the main short-term benefit would be minimizing doubts about whether athletes are adhering to the rules in the absence of traditional sample collectors, the long-term goal of the virtual program is more ease and less intrusiveness in drug testing.


U.S. Tennis Association Plans a $15 Million Bailout for Various Tennis Groups

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) will cut its top executives' salaries by 20% for the remainder of 2020 as part of an effort to provide emergency assistance totaling about $15 million to American tennis facilities, teaching professionals, and grassroots tennis organizations. The relief program comes with professional and most recreational tennis shut down in the country and with this year's United States Open in doubt. The Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is the primary source of funding for the USTA, which oversees tennis in the United States. The tournament generates revenue approaching $400 million each year and, for now, is still scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 13 in New York. Unlike Wimbledon, the oldest of the Grand Slam tournaments, which was canceled for the first time since 1945, the U.S. Open does not have pandemic insurance to cover some of its losses.


Conferences Petition NCAA, Seeking to Cut Sports

The commissioners of 5 college athletic conferences have asked the NCAA to relax some of its requirements because of financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In a joint letter to the president of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, the commissioners of the American Athletic, Mountain West, Mid-American, and Sun Belt conferences and Conference USA asked for temporary relief for up to 4 years, calling this the "direst financial crisis for higher education since at least the Great Depression." Among their requests was for the NCAA to ease the requirement that they sponsor a minimum of 16 sports to be in the Football Bowl Subdivision. They also asked to waive the football attendance requirement, which requires colleges to average at least 15,000 people at all home football games, and to change scheduling requirements.


MLB Employees Become the Subjects of a Huge Coronavirus Study

MLB employees, from players to stadium workers to executives, are participating in a 10,000-person study aimed at understanding how many people in various parts of the United States have been infected with the coronavirus. Each participant will have a finger pricked to produce blood that will be tested for the presence of antibodies, which indicates a past infection even in people who have never displayed symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The test for the virus itself can reveal only a current infection.

One of the biggest hurdles in determining when to reopen parts of the United States is the uncertainty about the number of people who have been infected over all and who, as a result, may now have some sort of immunity.


Here's What Has To Happen First Before Sports Comes Back

During a news conference, President Trump made a personal plea that probably resonated with at least some sports fans around the country. "We have to get our sports back," Trump said. "I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old." Trump said he was assembling a panel of experts -- including the commissioners of every major league in the country -- to figure out a way for games to return to stadiums around the country. Both Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government's leading expert on infectious diseases, expressed support for the idea of staging games without spectators in the stands. In the big picture, it comes down to priorities. Medical experts focused solely on eliminating the spread of the virus would say that sports should not played at this time at all. However, not everyone thinks that way. For some, restoring a bit of normalcy to American economic and social life outweighs some of the dangers of the virus. Experts agree that even if sports leagues return in some diminished capacity in the near term, there will not be a true return to "normal" -- like, say, the sight of 50,000 people packed into Yankee Stadium -- until there is a vaccine available to everyone in the country. That could take until 2021, or beyond, to happen.


Some Fans Aren't Surprised by Racial Abuse Allegations Against National Hockey League

New York Rangers prospect K'Andre Miller was repeatedly harassed in a videoconference organized by the Rangers. Abusive comments popped up on fans' screens during his online video chat with them this month. Some fans say the incident, as well as the team's handling of it, is indicative of a larger problem. The language on the chat was the first public act of racism connected to the National Hockey League (NHL) since its December announcement of a "zero tolerance" policy for abusive behavior and of required diversity and inclusion training for all coaches and general managers. Yet the NHL's handling of the chat incident has come under fire from fans who say that the league and the Rangers should have been better prepared, given longstanding problems with racist language in hockey arenas, which is often directed at players and diverse groups of fans.


XFL Files for Bankruptcy

Alpha Entertainment, the company that owns the XFL, filed for bankruptcy 3 days after the league suspended operations and laid off its staff. "The XFL quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people who love football," the league said in a statement. "Unfortunately, as a new enterprise, we were not insulated from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 crisis." The XFL returned in February, 19 years after its first and only other season. The revived version, originally slated for 10 games, lasted only 5 weeks before the season was shut down last month because of the pandemic. The XFL had also scheduled a 4-team postseason, with a championship game in Houston for late April, that were also canceled. At the time of the shutdown last month, league leaders vowed that it would return in 2021. Now that seems unlikely.


Saudi Cup Puts Hold on Prize Money

The organizers of the inaugural Saudi Cup, the world's richest horse race, are withholding the $20 million in prize money while they investigate whether the winner, Maximum Security, was aided by performance-enhancing drugs. Last month, the trainer of the colt, Jason Servis, was among more than two dozen trainers, veterinarians, and drug distributors accused, by federal prosecutors in the United States in a series of indictments, of secretly doping horses and cheating the betting public. Servis has pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit drug adulteration and misbranding.


Swiss Authorities Drop FIFA Prosecution

Days after the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled more details in a case that has shined a light on decades-long corruption at the heart of soccer, the Swiss authorities have confirmed that they plan to drop one of 2 cases against Sepp Blatter, a former president of FIFA, the global governing body of soccer. Blatter had been suspected of improper business conduct and, possibly, embezzlement, according to the Swiss authorities, and he and FIFA were being scrutinized for the awarding of World Cup broadcast rights in the Caribbean in 2005. The setback was another blow to the credibility of the Swiss prosecution of officials in the world's most popular sport. The inquiry in Switzerland began in September 2015, 4 months after a Justice Department indictment outlined corruption schemes that implicated some of soccer's most senior leaders, businessmen, and companies at the time. While the United States has since successfully prosecuted many of them, the Swiss have failed in its attempts to match its American counterparts in the pursuit of convictions and indictments. Switzerland's attorney general's office confirmed that the case had been dropped 6 days after the latest U.S. charges were made public on April 6.



Condé Nast is The Latest Media Casualty of COVID-19

Roger J. Lynch, the chief executive of the company behind Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, sent a memo to 6,000 employees around the world to inform them of an austerity plan that includes pay cuts, furloughs, and possible layoffs. "It's very likely our advertising clients, consumers and therefore our company will be operating under significant financial pressure for some time," Lynch said in the note. "As a result, we'll need to go beyond the initial cost-savings measures we put in place to protect our business for the long term." The salaries of those earning $100,000 or more -- just under half the company -- will be reduced by 10 to 20% for 5 months, starting in May. The pay of executives in the senior management team, including Anna Wintour, the artistic director and Condé Nast's best-known figurehead, will be cut 20%. In addition, Lynch said that he would forgo half of his salary, and that board members who were not employees of Advance Publications (the holding company that owns Condé Nast), like Domenico De Sole, former chief executive of Gucci Group, would take a 50% reduction in their compensation.


Furloughs and Pay Cuts Hit the The Los Angeles Times

The parent company of The Los Angeles Times is furloughing 40 employees and cutting the pay of senior managers in an effort to make up for losses brought on by a pandemic-related decline in advertising revenue. "Due to the unexpected effects of Covid-19, our advertising revenue has nearly been eliminated," said a memo to the staff from Chris Argentieri, the president of California Times, the publishing company that includes The LA Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune. The furloughed employees do not work in the newsroom. They could be out for as long as 16 weeks, and it is possible that they will be laid off at the end of the furlough period. As part of the austerity plan, pay for senior editorial and business managers at The LA Times and The Union-Tribune will be reduced by as much as 15% for 3 months, and 401(k) matches will be suspended. The cuts do not apply to union employees who belong to the NewsGuild. Argentieri said that company leaders would meet with union representatives to address "cost-saving initiatives."


Facebook to Notify Users Who Have Engaged with Harmful COVID-19 Posts

Facebook Inc. has announced that it would start notifying users who had engaged with false posts about COVID-19, which could cause physical harm, such as drinking bleach to cure the virus, and connect them to accurate information. The social media giant, which also owns photo-sharing network Instagram and messaging app WhatsApp, said it has been battling to control large volumes of misinformation, such as posts that say physical distancing will not curb the disease. Facebook has taken an uncharacteristically aggressive stance on false coronavirus posts, with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg saying hoaxes about the virus pose more of a threat to users than political falsehoods, which it generally permits.


Influencers Think Twice About Posts

As the coronavirus pandemic moved across the United States, the stock market plunged and many of the country's businesses closed, a major platform for social media influencers had a rosier message: "Good news in consumer shopping trends!" With online business now crucial for many brands whose futures are threatened by store closings, the sell itself has become a delicate dance. Some companies have barred any mention of the coronavirus or Covid-19 in influencer posts, even if the ads are about staying at home or taking care of family. Some agencies have recommended that influencers working at home should portray products in everyday clothing and that images should feel "bright and cheerful."


Trump Wanted a Radio Show, but He Didn't Want to Compete with Limbaugh

In March, Trump strode into the Situation Room for a meeting with the coronavirus task force. He didn't stop by the group's daily meetings often, but had an idea he was eager to share: He wanted to start a White House talk radio show. At the time, the virus was rapidly spreading across the country, and Trump would soon announce a ban on European travel. A talk radio show, Trump excitedly explained, would allow him to quell Americans' fears and answer their questions about the pandemic directly, according to 3 White House officials who heard the pitch. There would be no screening, he said, just an open line for people to call and engage one-on-one with the president. However, almost as suddenly as he proposed it, he outlined one reason why he would not be moving forward with it: He did not want to compete with Rush Limbaugh. No one in the room was sure how to respond, 2 of the officials said. Someone suggested hosting the show in the mornings or on weekends, to steer clear of the conservative radio host's schedule. Yet Trump said that he envisioned his show as 2 hours a day, every day, and were it not for Limbaugh, and the risk of encroaching on his territory, Trump reiterated, he would do it.


Apple Rolls Out Cheaper iPhone in Midst of Pandemic Spending Curbs

Apple is releasing a new iPhone that will be vastly cheaper than the models it rolled out last fall when the economy was booming and the pandemic had yet to force people to rethink their spending. The second-generation iPhone SE introduced Wednesday will sell for as little as $399, a 40% markdown from the most affordable iPhone 11 unveiled last year. Higher-end versions of the iPhone 11 sell for more than $1,000. Online orders for the iPhone SE will begin Friday, with the first deliveries expected April 24.



Fake Theories Make Bill Gates a Target

In a 2015 speech, Bill Gates warned that the greatest risk to humanity was not nuclear war, but an infectious virus that could threaten the lives of millions of people. That speech has resurfaced in recent weeks with 25 million new views on YouTube -- but not in the way that Gates likely intended. Anti-vaccinators, members of the conspiracy group QAnon, and right-wing pundits have instead seized on the video as evidence that one of the world's richest men planned to use a pandemic to wrest control of the global health system. Gates, the Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist, has now become the star of an explosion of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus outbreak. In posts on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, he is being falsely portrayed as the creator of Covid-19, as a profiteer from a virus vaccine, and as part of a dastardly plot to use the illness to cull or surveil the global population.


Trump Retweets #FireFauci

Trump publicly signaled his frustration with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government's top infectious disease expert, after the doctor said that more lives could have been saved from the coronavirus if the country had been shut down earlier. Trump reposted a Twitter message that said "Time to #FireFauci" as he rejected criticism of his slow initial response to the pandemic that has now killed more than 22,000 people in the United States. Trump has been privately irritated with Dr. Fauci, but the Twitter post was the most explicit he has been in letting that show publicly.


U.S. Accuses North Korea of Cyberattacks

The United States has accused North Korea of employing an array of old and new forms of cyberattacks to steal and launder money, extort companies, and use digital currencies to gain cash for its nuclear weapons program. The report -- issued jointly by the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, and the F.B.I. -- says the purpose of the accelerated program is for North Korea "to generate revenue for its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs." Yet the decision to publicly focus on North Korea's actions is quiet acknowledgment that Trump's 2-year diplomatic effort, backed by continued economic sanctions, has failed to slow the North's nuclear production or prevent it from using new avenues of attack.



Coronavirus Class Divide

With the pandemic exposing and compounding inequality in matters large and small, access to private, controllable space has emerged as a new class divide -- more valuable than ever to those who have it and potentially fatal to those who do not. "The pandemic is a reminder that privacy is at a premium among the poor -- hard to find and extremely valuable," said Stefanie DeLuca, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University. "Living in crowded conditions not only increases the risk of infection but can also impose serious emotional and mental health costs. The ability to retreat into one's own space is a way to cope with conflict, tension and anxiety."


Census Announces Delays in 2020 Count

Conceding that its effort to count the nation's population has been hamstrung by the coronavirus pandemic, the Census Bureau said that it would extend the deadlines for collecting census data and ask Congress for a delay in providing final counts used for Congressional redistricting.


Supreme Court to Hear Arguments by Phone

For the first time, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments by telephone over 6 days in May. It will also open live remote access to audio of the arguments. "In keeping with public health guidance in response to Covid-19," a news release from the Court said, "the justices and counsel will all participate remotely. The Court anticipates providing a live audio feed of these arguments to news media. Details will be shared as they become available." Although the release referred only to access by the news media, a Court spokeswoman said that the audio feed would also be available to the public.


States Ask Supreme Court to Reconsider Wealth Test

Three states, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont, asked the Supreme Court to revisit a January ruling that allowed the Trump administration to move forward with plans to deny green cards to immigrants who make even occasional and minor use of public benefits like Medicaid. The states, along with New York City itself, asked the justices to temporarily suspend the program in light of the coronavirus pandemic. "Every person who doesn't get the health coverage they need today risks infecting another person with the coronavirus tomorrow," said Letitia James, New York's attorney general. "Immigrants provide us with health care, care for our elderly, prepare and deliver our food, clean our hospitals and public spaces and take on so many other essential roles in our society, which is why we should all be working to make testing and health coverage available to every single person in this country, regardless of immigration status." The pandemic, the motion said, had changed the legal calculus and justified loosening the administration's new requirements for the so-called public charge rule, which allows officials to deny permanent legal status, also known as a green card.


How a Supreme Court Decision Curtailed the Right to Vote in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin spring elections were less than a week away, and with the state's coronavirus death toll mounting, Democrats were challenging Republican plans to hold the vote as scheduled.

In an emergency hearing, held via videoconference, John Devaney, a lawyer for the Democrats, proposed a simple compromise: Extend the deadline for mail ballots by 6 days past Election Day, to April 13, to ensure that more people could vote, and vote safely. The presiding federal judge, William M. Conley, agreed, pointing out that clerks were facing severe backlogs and delays as they struggled to meet surging demand for mail-in ballots. Yet with hours to go before Election Day, the Supreme Court reversed that decision along strict ideological lines, a decision based in large part on the majority's assertion that the Democrats had never asked for the very extension Devaney requested in court. It was the first major voting-rights decision led by the Court's conservative newest member, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, and it was in keeping with a broader Republican approach that puts more weight on protecting against potential fraud -- vanishingly rare in American elections -- than the right to vote, with limited regard for the added burdens of the pandemic. When the state released its final vote tallies, it was clear that the decision had resulted in the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, forced several thousand more to endanger their lives at polls, and burdened already strained state health officials with a grim new task: tracking the extent to which in-person voting contributed to the virus's spread in the state, a federal disaster area.

Interestingly, Democrats scored a significant victory in Wisconsin when a liberal challenger upset a Trump-backed incumbent to win a State Supreme Court seat, a down-ballot race that illustrated strong turnout and vote-by-mail efforts in a presidential battleground state. The challenger for the court seat, Jill Karofsky, ousted the conservative incumbent, Justice Daniel Kelly, in a contest with broad potential implications for voting rights in Wisconsin's November general election. Justice Kelly became just the second incumbent State Supreme Court justice to be ousted at the polls since 1967. Trump had boasted that his endorsement of Justice Kelly had unnerved Democrats in the state.



East Coast vs. West Coast in COVID-19 Battle Responses

As the nation struggles to scrounge up the lifesaving machines for hospitals overrun with Covid-19 patients, 3 Western states, California, Oregon, and Washington, recently shipped 1,000 spare resiprators to New York and other besieged neighbors on the East Coast. The ongoing effort of these states to come to the aid of more hard-hit parts of the nation has emerged as the most powerful indication to date that the early intervention of West Coast governors and mayors might have mitigated, at least for now, the medical catastrophe that has befallen New York and parts of the Midwest and South. Their aggressive imposition of stay-at-home orders has stood in contrast to the relatively slower actions in New York and elsewhere, and drawn widespread praise from epidemiologists.


Email Chain Shows Faltering Response to the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus emerged and headed toward the United States, an extraordinary conversation was hatched among an elite group of infectious disease doctors and medical experts in the federal government and academic institutions around the nation. Red Dawn -- a nod to the 1984 film with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen -- was the nickname for the email chain they built. Different threads in the chain were named Red Dawn Breaking, Red Dawn Rising, Red Dawn Breaking Bad, and, as the situation grew more dire, Red Dawn Raging. It was hosted by the chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Duane C. Caneva, starting in January with a small core of medical experts and friends that gradually grew to dozens. The "Red Dawn String," Dr. Caneva said, was intended "to provide thoughts, concerns, raise issues, share information across various colleagues responding to Covid-19," including medical experts and doctors from the Health and Human Services Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Homeland Security Department, the Veterans Affairs Department, the Pentagon, and other federal agencies tracking the historic health emergency.


How the Virus Transformed the Way We Spend Money

The coronavirus has profoundly altered daily life in America, ushering in sweeping upheavals to the U.S. economy. Among the most immediate effects of the crisis? Radical changes to how people spend their money. In a matter of weeks, pillars of American industry essentially ground to a halt. Airplanes, restaurants, and arenas were suddenly empty. In many states, businesses deemed nonessential -- including luxury goods retailers and golf courses -- were ordered closed. Some companies like Walmart, Amazon, and Uber Eats have seen spikes in purchases, but customers of many other businesses have simply stopped spending. "This is the sharpest decline in consumer spending that we have ever seen," said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust.


Banks Set Billions Aside to Prepare for Recession

The economic shutdown the coronavirus has caused has already forced millions of Americans out of work and threatened the future of thousands of small businesses, and the country's biggest banks are bracing for the fallout. JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo set aside billions of dollars each for losses on loans to customers who may soon no longer have the means to repay them. JPMorgan, the country's largest bank, added $8.3 billion to its reserves to prepare for impending defaults -- a $6.8 billion increase from the same quarter last year. Wells Fargo set aside $4 billion, which was an increase of $3.1 billion. The chief executive of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, said that the bank was preparing for "the likelihood of a fairly severe recession."


Small-Business Aid Funds Run Dry as Program Fails to Reach Hardest Hit

A new federal program to help small businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic ran out of money and is falling short in the industries and states most battered by the crisis, risking waves of bankruptcies and millions of additional unemployed workers. Funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, an initiative created by the $2.2 trillion stimulus law enacted last month was exhausted early, meaning that the Small Business Administration would have to stop approving applications. More than 1.4 million loans had been approved at a value of more than $315 billion.



International Monetary Fund Predicts Worst Downturn Since the Great Depression

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a stark warning on Tuesday about the coronavirus's economic toll, saying that the world is facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression, as shuttered factories, quarantines, and national lockdowns cause economic output to collapse. In its World Economic Outlook, the IMF projected that the global economy would contract by 3% in 2020, an extraordinary reversal from earlier this year, when the fund forecast that the world economy would outpace 2019 and grow by 3.3%. This year's fall output would be far more severe than the last recession, when the world economy contracted by less than 1% between 2008 and 2009.


Sales at U.S. Stores Hit Catastrophic Depths

Retail sales plunged in March, offering a grim snapshot of the coronavirus outbreak's effect on consumer spending, as businesses shuttered from coast to coast and wary shoppers restricted their spending. Total sales, which include retail purchases in stores and online as well as money spent at bars and restaurants, fell 8.7% from the previous month, according to the Commerce Department. The decline was by far the largest in the nearly 3 decades the government has tracked the data. Even that bleak figure doesn't capture the full impact of the sudden economic freeze on the retail industry. Most states didn't shut down nonessential businesses until late March or early April, meaning that data for the current month could be worse still.



U.S. Job Losses Mount as Trump Presses Plan to Reopen Business

The ranks of America's unemployed have swelled toward Great Depression-era levels and Trump reacted to the pressure on the economy by outlining a phased approach to reopening parts of the country where the coronavirus is being brought under control. Trump told the nation's governors that restrictions could be eased to allow businesses to reopen over the next several weeks in places that have extensive testing and a marked decrease in COVID-19 cases. "We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time," Trump said, adding that his new guidelines give governors the freedom to act as they see fit. His comments marked an abrupt change after a week in which he clashed with governors over his claim that he had "total" authority over how and when the country reopens.


COVID-19 Crisis Strains Needy and Groups That Help Them

Charitable organizations are a critical part of the social safety net in the United States, providing food, shelter, and cash assistance to vulnerable people who fall through gaps in government safety nets. Yet just as COVID-19 is causing a surge in demand for their services, it is straining the social service nonprofits' efforts to help. With revenue streams dried up, fundraising events canceled, and no relief in sight, some nonprofits are being forced to retrench when they are most needed. Just weeks into the pandemic, some organizations have enacted widespread layoffs while others have cut programs.


Some Banks Keep Customers' Stimulus Checks if Accounts Are Overdrawn

For some struggling Americans, the arrival of a deposit from the Treasury Department to help with basic expenses like rent and groceries during the coronavirus crisis was something to count on -- until their financial institutions got in the way. Frustrated customers say banks have been seizing some, or all, of their relief payments because their accounts are overdrawn, in some cases as a result of pandemic-caused hardship. The phenomenon is swiftly becoming a political issue, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fielding calls from senators urging him to ensure that relief money isn't garnished. Banks are legally allowed to withhold funds that go into accounts with negative balances, and no specific provision in the CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief package that authorized the stimulus payments, prevents banks from taking customers' stimulus money to cover debts.


Gig Workers' Revived Fight Over Labor Status

California has been in a standoff with the ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft over their drivers' status under the law: whether they are contractors or employees. Now the coronavirus crisis has put a spotlight on a related question: Who is responsible for helping those drivers when there is no work? The companies are urging their drivers nationwide to apply for emergency unemployment benefits that federal legislation established last month for the self-employed. However, there's a catch in California: The state doesn't typically consider them as self-employed. Nonetheless, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing the state's unemployment agency to help workers like Uber and Lyft drivers collect benefits under the federal program, known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. That may put the state at odds with the rules of the federal program. U.S. Labor Department officials have emphasized that only workers ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits can receive the federal pandemic assistance, and under a state law passed last year and some previous determinations, the drivers are considered employees in California and should be able to draw traditional unemployment benefits.


Uber and Lyft Are Searching for Lifelines

With much of the country and many other parts of the world in lockdown because of the virus, investors fear for the future of Uber and its ride-hailing rival, Lyft. The two companies, which were never close to being profitable when the economy was booming, face an existential question: How will they and their drivers stay afloat when most people are staying home?? Last week, Uber told financial analysts that it couldn't forecast how much revenue it would generate this year because of the upheaval caused by the coronavirus. In February, Uber had said it expected to bring in between $16 billion and $17 billion this year. For now, the strategy at Uber and Lyft, like that at many other companies, appears to be: Wait it out. Financial analysts expect the companies to cut back on marketing and the incentives they often offer for drivers. If widespread shelter-in-place orders continue through the summer, analysts said, layoffs or furloughs among the companies' thousands of office workers are possible.


Experts Reject Trump Claim of "Total Authority"

Trump's claim that he wielded "total" authority in the pandemic crisis prompted rebellion not just from governors. Legal scholars across the ideological spectrum rejected his declaration that ultimately he, not state leaders, will decide when to risk lifting social distancing limits in order to reopen businesses. "When somebody's the president of the United States, the authority is total," Trump asserted at a press briefing recently. "And that's the way it's got to be." Yet neither the Constitution nor any federal law bestows that power upon Trump, a range of legal scholars and government officials said. "We don't have a king in this country," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said, adding, "There are laws and facts -- even in this wild political environment." He rebutted Trump's claim by citing a line from Alexander Hamilton, observing that presidential encroachment on powers that the Constitution reserved to the states would be "repugnant to every rule of political calculation."


Trump's 'Opening Our Country Council' Runs into Its Own Opening Problems

Instead of a formal council, Trump created several industry groups, and joined 4 calls with them. However, some participants had no notice that they would be included, and others were not available to join. In short, the rollout of what Trump referred to recently as his "Opening Our Country Council" was as confusing as the process of getting there. Instead of a formal council, what Trump announced was a watered-down version that included 17 separate industry groups, including hospitality, banking, energy, and "thought leaders." The confusion was the latest example of the difficulty the administration has encountered in its attempts to enlist support from the private sector to bolster Trump's claim that he has the power to reopen the economy, even as governors have made it clear that they will make those decisions themselves.


Airlines Accept $25 Billion Bailout Terms

The Trump administration has reached an agreement in principle with major airlines over the terms of a $25 billion bailout to prop up an industry hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Treasury Department said that Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, and Southwest Airlines would participate. The program is supposed to help the companies pay their workers and was created as part of the economic stabilization package that Congress passed last month. In recent days, the bailout negotiations became contentious over the Treasury's insistence that larger airlines repay at least some of the money they received. The parties ultimately agreed that the government's support would be structured as part grant and part loan and the Treasury would also receive warrants to buy stock in the companies.


Trump Adds Name to Stimulus Checks

Trump's name will appear on the economic stimulus checks that will be mailed to millions of Americans in the coming weeks, the Treasury Department confirmed. The decision to have Trump's name on the checks, a break in protocol, was made by the Treasury Department after Trump suggested the idea to Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, according to a department official. Trump's name will appear in the "memo" section of the check because he is not legally authorized to sign such disbursements.


Trump Blames World Health Organization for Virus

For weeks, Trump has faced relentless criticism for having overseen a slow and ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, failing to quickly embrace public health measures that could have prevented the disease from spreading. Recent polls show that more Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of the virus than approve. So during a White House briefing, Trump tried to shift the blame elsewhere, ordering his administration to halt nearly $500 million in funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) and claiming the organization made a series of devastating mistakes as it sought to battle the virus. He said his administration would conduct a review into whether the WHO was responsible for "severely mismanaging and covering up" the spread.



Shutdowns Curb Abortions

The fight over abortion rights, rather than receding into the background during the pandemic, has intensified as a number of states have banned the procedure in recent weeks as part of emergency measures to fight the virus. In at least 7 states across the South and the Midwest, authorities have included abortion as a nonessential medical procedure, arguing that postponement is necessary to preserve medical and protective equipment. Abortion rights groups say that the pandemic is being used as a pretense to restrict abortion, and have sued to stop the states, which include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.


Former President Barack Obama Backs VP Biden for President

Former President Barack Obama emerged from political hibernation to endorse Joseph R. Biden Jr. and urge the Democratic Party -- including, explicitly, supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- to unite behind its presumptive presidential nominee in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In a lengthy video announcing his support, one day after Sanders himself endorsed Biden, Obama praised Sanders for setting a new agenda for the party and signaled that more progressive ideas would be reflected in Biden's campaign going forward. At the same time, he urged fortitude in the face of the coronavirus, sounding less like a campaign-trail endorser at points than a president addressing a nation in crisis. Appealing directly to Sanders's supporters, he underscored the pivot Biden has been trying to make since wrapping up the nomination: from an argument, essentially, for restoring the pre-Trump status quo to an argument that this is insufficient. It is the argument Sanders and other progressive candidates -- like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, whose call for "big structural change" Obama overtly echoed -- made all along.


Sanders Endorses Biden For President

Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the Democratic nominee for president, taking a major step toward bringing unity to the party's effort to unseat Trump in November. The decision by Sanders to back his former rival is an unmistakable signal to his supporters -- who are known for their intense loyalty -- that they should do so as well, at a moment when Biden still faces deep skepticism from many younger progressive voters. "We need you in the White House," Sanders said to Biden. "And I will do all that I can to see that that happens."



White House Rejects New Emissions Rule

Disregarding an emerging scientific link between dirty air and Covid-19 death rates, the Trump administration declined on Tuesday to tighten a regulation on industrial soot emissions that came up for review ahead of the coronavirus pandemic. Andrew R. Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) , said his agency will not impose stricter controls on the tiny, lung-damaging industrial particles, known as PM 2.5, a regulatory action that has been in the works for months. The scientific evidence, he said, was insufficient to merit tightening the current emissions standard.


EPA Weakens Controls on Mercury

The Trump administration weakened regulations on the release of mercury and other toxic metals from oil and coal-fired power plants, another step toward rolling back health protections in the middle of a pandemic. The new EPA rule does not eliminate restrictions on the release of mercury, a heavy metal linked to brain damage. Instead, it creates a new method of calculating the costs and benefits of curbing mercury pollution that environmental lawyers said would fundamentally undermine the legal underpinnings of controls on mercury and many other pollutants. By reducing the positive health effects of regulations on paper and raising their economic costs, the new method could be used to justify loosening restrictions on any pollutant that the fossil fuel industry has deemed too costly to control.


Wildlife Collapse From Climate Change is Predicted to Hit Suddenly and Sooner

Climate change could result in a more abrupt collapse of many animal species than previously thought, starting in the next decade if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, according to a study published this month in Nature. The study predicted that large swaths of ecosystems would falter in waves, creating sudden die-offs that would be catastrophic not only for wildlife, but for the humans who depend on it.


Court Strikes Down Trump's Rollback of School Nutrition Rules

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has struck down a 2018 Agriculture Department rule that reversed nutrition standards for sodium and whole grains in school meal programs once championed by the former first lady Michelle Obama. The Court concluded that the Agriculture Department rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act, because the 2018 rule differed significantly from the administration's 2017 interim rule setting up the final standards. The school breakfast and lunch rule is only the latest in a series of Trump administration regulations that have been struck down for violating the legal procedures that Congress set out for approving new regulations.



Students with Special Needs Fall Behind in Online School

The sudden switch to remote learning for the 1.1 million public school students in New York City has presented the nation's largest school system with its greatest challenge in decades. There is also a crisis within the crisis. The city is home to roughly 200,000 public school students with disabilities. Now, the already-strained special education system must transform how they are educated, which includes crucial services -- like speech, occupational, and physical therapy -- that are extremely difficult and in some cases impossible to translate online. The city has already encountered some stark realities about remote special education in the first weeks of distance learning. Interviews with about 2 dozen educators and parents showed wide agreement that, even if remote learning were executed perfectly, students with special needs would fall behind academically and socially. Similar effects are being seen nationwide.


Colleges Running Low on Money Fear Losing Their Students

Across the country, students are rethinking their choices in a world altered by the pandemic. Universities, concerned about the potential for shrinking enrollment and lost revenue, are making a wave of decisions in response that could profoundly alter the landscape of higher education for years to come. Lucrative spring sports seasons have been canceled, room and board payments have been refunded, and students at some schools are demanding hefty tuition discounts for what they see as a lost spring term. Other revenue sources, like study abroad programs and campus bookstores have dried up, and federal research funding is threatened. Already, colleges have seen their endowments weakened, and worry that fund-raising efforts will founder as many families need more financial aid. They also expect to lose international students, especially from Asia, because of travel restrictions and concerns about studying abroad. Foreign students, usually paying full tuition, represent a significant revenue source everywhere, from the Ivy Leagues to community colleges. Administrators anticipate that students grappling with the financial and psychological impacts of the virus could choose to stay closer to home, go to less expensive schools, take a year off or not go to college at all. A higher education trade group has predicted a 15% drop in enrollment nationwide, amounting to a $23 billion revenue loss.


Foreign Doctors Could Help Fight the Pandemic - But U.S. Blocks Many of Them

Hospitals in coronavirus hot spots are scrambling to address a shortage of medical professionals to help care for patients, as the number of cases continues to grow and as maintaining a full supply of health care workers, who are themselves falling ill, is challenging. "I am asking health care professionals across the country, if you don't have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York right now," New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, said on March 30. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an urgent call at the end of March for additional health care workers to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, suggesting that recently retired physicians and medical students awaiting licensing could be brought in to help. "We need you," he said.

Foreign health workers have been lining up to take jobs at American hospitals, but many are running into roadblocks. Some are having difficulty securing appointments for visas at U.S. consulates overseas that are hobbled by skeletal staffing. Others running into travel restrictions imposed in the midst of the pandemic.


Trump Threatens to Adjourn Congress to Install Nominees

Trump, furious over government vacancies he said were hindering his administration's coronavirus response, threatened to invoke a never-before-used presidential power to adjourn Congress so he that could fill the positions temporarily himself. The top Senate Republican, Senator Mitch McConnell, quickly let it be known that would not happen. Days after insisting he had "total" authority to supersede governors' decisions about whether to reopen their states, Trump floated the unprecedented step during a White House news conference as he lashed out at Democrats for opposing his nominees. He demanded that Republican leaders immediately call the Senate back into session to confirm them, or take a recess for an extended period of time so he could install stopgap appointees without a vote, a practice known as a recess appointment. The House and Senate have both taken extended recesses amid the pandemic, convening at least every few days for so-called pro forma sessions -- brief meetings that last mere minutes and require the presence of only one lawmaker -- to keep their chambers technically in session even though they are not doing business.


Loyal Trump Backer Is Now a Face of the Administration's Virus Response

Michael R. Caputo, a longtime Trump loyalist who made a cameo appearance in the Mueller report, has been installed as the public face of the Health and Human Services Department in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. "I'm delighted to have Michael Caputo join our team at @HHSGov as our Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs," the department's secretary, Alex M. Azar II, wrote on Twitter, "especially at this critical time in our nation's public health history." Caputo has no background in health care, but what he lacks in expertise, he makes up in loyalty to Trump.


Why is the 9/11 Trial Taking so Long?

Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings that killed 2,976 people in New York, at the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania field. For much of those 2 decades, the United States has been holding 5 men accused of helping plot the attacks, but they have yet to come to trial. The military's legal proceedings at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have lurched from setback to setback, disappointing the families of the victims who have watched in frustration and dismay. Then over the summer, a military judge finally set a timetable toward a trial that envisioned a start date early next year. Now, that schedule has suffered a one-two punch that promises more delay. First, the coronavirus crisis has cut off most access to Guantánamo Bay, complicating the work of the prosecutors, defense teams, judiciary, and support staff who shuttle between the base and the mainland. Then, the judge abruptly announced last month that he was retiring from the Air Force and would leave the case next week. Most pretrial work, including legal meetings, is on hold. The prison at Guantánamo does not allow the defendants to meet with their lawyers by telephone or video link. The departing judge, Col. W. Shane Cohen, has postponed his plan to begin the trial on Jan. 11, 2021, by at least 2 months, but it will be up to the next judge -- who, when chosen, will be the fourth since 2012 -- to work out when to start what is envisioned to be a year-long trial.


Veteran Defense Counsel Joins Guantánamo Case

A leading defense lawyer who specializes in death penalty cases has been chosen to represent one of the men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks before a military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, overcoming a key obstacle to the war crimes trial. The lawyer, David I. Bruck, will represent Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni accused of organizing a cell of men based in Hamburg, Germany, who were among the 19 hijackers who seized 4 passenger planes and slammed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Bruck has handled several high-profile death penalty cases, including representing Dylann S. Roof, who killed 9 black churchgoers in South Carolina in June 2015; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013; and Susan Smith, a woman in South Carolina who drowned her 2 young sons in 1994.


U.S. Sends Funds to Needy Nations to Fight the Virus, but Maybe Not for Masks

The Trump administration is considering new rules that would limit how American humanitarian aid is used to buy masks, plastic gloves, and other protective medical equipment to combat the coronavirus in some of the world's neediest nations. Instead, the administration is working to secure those supplies for Americans first as the pandemic sweeps around the world. The internal debate is the latest example of a global race for limited medical gear that puts countries that are poor, are unstable or have deficient health systems, at a deadly disadvantage.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Labs Were Contaminated, Which Contributed to Testing Delays

Sloppy laboratory practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) caused contamination that rendered the nation's first coronavirus tests ineffective, federal officials confirmed. Two of the 3 CDC laboratories in Atlanta that created the coronavirus test kits violated their own manufacturing standards, resulting in the agency sending tests that did not work to nearly all of the 100 state and local public health labs, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Early on, the FDA, which oversees laboratory tests, sent Dr. Timothy Stenzel, chief of in vitro diagnostics and radiological health, to the CDC labs to assess the problem; there, he found an astonishing lack of expertise in commercial manufacturing and learned that nobody was in charge of the entire process. Problems ranged from researchers entering and exiting the coronavirus laboratories without changing their coats, to test ingredients being assembled in the same room where researchers were working on positive coronavirus samples, officials said. Those practices made the tests sent to public health labs unusable because they were contaminated with the coronavirus, and produced some inconclusive results.


U.S. Deported Thousands Amid Covid-19 Outbreak, Including Some Who Were Sick

In the scramble to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the United States, the Trump administration has been pushing forward with its aggressive immigration enforcement agenda, deporting thousands of people to their home countries, including some who are sick with the virus. Dozens of Guatemalans flown home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since late March tested positive for the coronavirus after returning, according to Guatemalan authorities. Trump used the surgeon general's authority last month to effectively seal the southwestern border, saying the move was necessary to prevent migrants from carrying the coronavirus into the United States. However, few, if any, people with the disease have crossed the border from Mexico, and Guatemalan authorities have now accused the United States, which has the most coronavirus cases in the world, of sending infected people back across its borders.


Rising Shortage of Dialysis Units Alarm Doctors

For weeks, U.S. government officials and hospital executives have warned of a looming shortage of ventilators as the coronavirus pandemic descended. Yet ventilators aren't the only machines in intensive care units that are in short supply - doctors have been confronting an unexpected rise in patients with failing kidneys. Doctors are sounding an alarm about an unexpected and perhaps overlooked crisis: A surge in Covid-19 patients with kidney failure that is leading to shortages of machines, supplies, and staff required for emergency dialysis.


The Bulk of Essential Workers Are Women

From the cashier to the emergency room nurse to the drugstore pharmacist to the home health aide taking the bus to check on her older client, the soldier on the front lines of the current national emergency is most likely a woman. One in 3 jobs held by women has been designated as essential, according to a New York Times analysis of census data crossed with the federal government's essential worker guidelines. Non-white women are more likely to be doing essential jobs than anyone else. The work they do has often been underpaid and undervalued -- an unseen labor force that keeps the country running and takes care of those most in need, whether or not there is a pandemic.


Crowds Protest Stay at Home Orders

As Trump and some of his supporters push for a more rapid return to pre-coronavirus economic activity, protesters in several states took to the streets last week to urge governors to relax the strict rules on commerce, work, and daily life that health officials have said are necessary to save lives. Protests have taken place in several states, including Michigan, Kentucky, and North Carolina. More protests against stay-at-home orders have been planned in other states, including Texas, Oregon, and California. The rallies reflected both economic frustrations and political divides. At recent rallies in Ohio, New York, and Michigan, many organizers and demonstrators, some who came armed, were aligned with anti-government activists on the right and libertarian groups. Some had affiliations with the Tea Party and displayed the "Don't Tread on Me" logo that was an unofficial slogan for the movement.




Decline in Police Reports of Domestic Violence May Be a Bad Sign

As the coronavirus forces people to stay home, reports of domestic violence are falling in New York City, alarming the authorities. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have fueled incidents of domestic violence in New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic, even though police have recorded fewer crimes. Statistics actually suggest that domestic violence is down in the city since the shutdown, even as it has risen statewide and around the world. Fewer victims of domestic abuse have been calling the police or the city's hotline in recent weeks. However, the drop in reports is far from reassuring, officials said, and law enforcement officials and social workers say there are some signs that strife is quietly escalating behind closed doors. Calls to some organizations that provide shelter to battered women, for instance, have increased sharply. "Those stats are very scary," said Melinda Katz, the district attorney in Queens, where domestic violence arrests have fallen nearly 40%. "The problem we think people are having is how to notify us."


Coronavirus Pandemic Puts a Stop to Jehovah's Witnesses Door-knocking Practice

Across America, most religious groups have stopped coming together in large numbers to pray and hold services, in keeping with stay-at-home orders. They have improvised with online preaching and even drive-in services held as parishioners sit in cars. Mormons have stopped going door-to-door in the U.S. and called home many missionaries working abroad. Jehovah's Witnesses -- with 1.3 million members in the U.S. who hand out brochures on sidewalks and subway platforms and ring doorbells -- are one of the most visible religious groups in the nation. Members are called on to share scriptures in person with nonmembers, warning of an imminent Armageddon and hoping to baptize them with the prospect of living forever. The decision to stop their ministries was the first of its kind in the nearly 150 years the group has existed. It followed anguished discussions at Watchtower headquarters, with leaders deciding on March 20 that knocking on doors would leave the impression that members were disregarding the safety of those they hoped to convert.


Jailed Youths Seek Release as Virus Spreads

While some states have moved to release adults from prisons where the coronavirus poses a threat, efforts to free juveniles from detention have met resistance. Maryland, Texas and Pennsylvania are states where lawyers have sought the mass release of juvenile offenders who have underlying health conditions or are determined not to pose a danger to society. While some states, such as New York and California, moved quickly to release nonviolent and older adults from prisons that have emerged as hotbeds for the virus's spread, courts and state law enforcement leaders have been hesitant to extend the same benefit to children. Maryland's highest court denied an emergency petition by the state's Office of Public Defender to order the immediate release of the state's youngest, sickest offenders, as well as the 58% of detainees in juvenile jails and 74% in youth prisons who are being held for nonviolent offenses, misdemeanors or technical violations of probation. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied a similar petition last week to release about 2,000 youths from detention centers, county jails or long-term correctional or residential facilities. The court conceded that the "potential outbreak of Covid-19 in facilities housing juveniles in detention poses an undeniable threat," but said that a mass release "fails to take into account the individual circumstances of each juvenile, including any danger to them or to others, as well as the diversity of situations present within individual institutions and communities."


Dozens of Inmates Freed for "COVID-19 Release" Back in Jail

Dozens of inmates freed from city jails over fears they were vulnerable to the coronavirus have wasted no time plaguing the city with new crimes. At least 50 of the 1,500 inmates [roughly 3%] cut loose amid fears of the spread of COVID-19 behind bars in recent weeks have already landed back in jail -- and in some cases were set free yet again, according to police sources and records. The slew of early releases has irked some in the NYPD, who say the re-offenders are "targeting the most vulnerable victims" once they're out.


Judge Denies Roger Stone's Bid for a New Trial

The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against Roger J. Stone Jr. - Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court in Washington - refused to grant him a new trial, rejecting the defense's argument of juror misconduct that Trump has also repeatedly trumpeted. Judge Berman Jackson ordered Stone to surrender to the federal Bureau of Prisons as soon as he was notified to do so. She also released him and his lawyers from a gag order she imposed months ago. The judge's decision appears to end one of the most politically fraught federal criminal cases in recent years. In a last-ditch effort to keep their client out of prison, Stone's lawyers had claimed that the jury forewoman had improperly concealed a bias against Stone, justifying a new trial.


Cohen Among Prisoners to be Freed Over Coronavirus

Michael D. Cohen, the disgraced former lawyer for Trump, was among some of the inmates at a federal prison camp in upstate New York who were told they would be released into home confinement because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The expected releases come about 3 weeks after Attorney General William P. Barr, who oversees the Bureau of Prisons, ordered a review to determine who among the country's nearly 144,000 federal inmates could safely be furloughed to home confinement as the pandemic worsened. A week later, Barr directed prison officials to move more aggressively and expanded the criteria under which inmates could be released. According to the prison agency's website, nearly 1,200 prisoners have been freed -- after a required 14-day quarantine. The prison camp inmates set to be released upstate were serving sentences at a minimum-security camp that is attached to a medium-security federal prison and detention center in Otisville, about 75 miles northwest of New York City.


Governors Agree to Work Together to Reopen

The governors from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island said they would begin to draw up a plan for when to reopen businesses and schools, and how quickly to allow people to return to work safely, although the timeline for such a plan remained unclear. The joint effort was the first of 2 announced: The governors of California, Oregon, and Washington, three Western states that were among those that felt the impact of the virus before it spread rapidly in the Northeast, announced a similar pact. All but one of the 10 governors on the 2 coasts are Democrats.


Land O'Lakes Removes Native American Woman from Its Products

For nearly a century, an illustration of a Native American woman with a feather in her hair has adorned the packaging of Land O'Lakes cheese and butter products, but not for much longer. The company, founded in 1921 by a group of Minnesota dairy farmers, is phasing in a new design ahead of its 100th anniversary. Instead of the depiction of the woman, some products will be labeled "Farmer-Owned" and feature an illustration of a field and lake, or photographs of its farmers. The new design, which started appearing on tubs of butter spread, food service products, and deli cheese in February, is now being used on packages of stick butter and will be "fully rolled out" by the end of the year. Officials and Native American representatives applauded the change, which is similar to steps that other U.S. companies, sports teams, and universities have undertaken to address or phase out the use of Native American imagery in logos and mascots.


New Jersey Women's Prison Sexual Abuse Uncovered

Inmates at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, N.J., New Jersey's only state prison for women, were regularly sexually assaulted by guards and sometimes forced to engage in sex acts with other prisoners while staff members looked on, according to a Justice Department report released last detailing widespread, pervasive sexual abuse at the facility. In one instance at the prison, a woman was forced to act as a lookout for the guard assaulting her, the report said. Assault and coercion were so prevalent that the Justice Department concluded that the New Jersey Department of Corrections and the prison had violated the inmates' constitutional protections from cruel and unusual punishment.


Dozens Killed as Severe Weather Hits Southern States

A slew of tornados tore across the Southeast this weekend snapping trees, blowing away keepsakes, and launching cars from their parking spots. The devastating weather system started Sunday and barreled across the region into Monday, leaving destruction, blackouts, and heartbreak in its path. More than 30 people died -- including at least 11 in Mississippi, 9 in South Carolina and 8 in Georgia -- making it one of the most significant natural disasters in the country since government officials began ordering people to stay home and away from one another in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.


Crowds in Florida Rush to Reopened Beaches

Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, gave the green light for some beaches and parks to reopen if it can be done safely, and north Florida beaches became among the first to allow people to return since closures because of the coronavirus. Florida officials were criticized for leaving beaches open during part of the spring break period last month. Most counties closed their beaches in response or kept them open under very restrictive conditions. Other more high-profile beaches in South Florida -- including Miami Beach -- were closed by state order. At a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, DeSantis said some municipalities should feel free to start opening up parks and beaches, if that can be done safely, with distancing guidelines remaining in place. The governor said it was important for people to have outlets for getting exercise, sunshine, and fresh air.


Death Toll Spikes at Nursing Homes

More than 6 weeks after the first coronavirus deaths in a nursing home, outbreaks unfold across the country. About a fifth of U.S. virus deaths are linked to nursing facilities. A nationwide tally by The New York Times has found the number of people living in or connected to nursing homes who have died of the coronavirus to be at least 7,000, far higher than previously known.


23 Die of COVID-19 in New York City Shelters

While much of New York City is staying inside, a crisis has taken hold among a population for whom social distancing is nearly impossible: the more than 17,000 men and women, many of them already in poor health, who sleep in roughly 100 group or "congregate" shelters for single adults. Most live in dormitories that are fertile fields for the virus, with beds close enough for people sleeping in them to hold hands. Rather than keeping people away from shelters, the virus has driven them in. Some inmates released from Rikers Island to control the outbreak in the jail have wound up in shelters. With the outdoor safety net falling apart -- few pedestrians to beg for change; public bathrooms shut; many soup kitchens closed for lack of food and volunteers -- the nightly shelter population has consistently reached levels seen only a few times in the last decade, and usually only on the most frigid nights of winter. As of last week, 371 people from shelters had tested positive for the virus, about 80% of them from the single-adult facilities, though those adults represent less than a quarter of the homeless population. The rest are mostly families who often stay in studio-like units by themselves. While total prevention is impossible, the city has been scrambling to at least lower the risk.


Man Charged With Trying to Blow Up Jewish Home

A Massachusetts man, John Michael Rathbun, was charged on Wednesday in federal court in Western Massachusetts with 2 counts of attempted arson after authorities say he tried to blow up a Jewish assisted-living center that had been targeted for attack on a white supremacist website that promoted a "Jew killing day". Authorities said that Rathbun tried to ignite a 5-gallon plastic gas canister outside Ruth's House, an assisted-living home in Longmeadow, Mass., on the morning of April 2.


Falwell Focuses on Critics as Coronavirus Cases Near His University Grow

Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, has defended his decision to keep the school's campus open during the coronavirus pandemic. Falwell's angry counteroffensive against critics of his decision to invite Liberty University students back to its Lynchburg, Virgiia, campus after spring break has played out in the media, the courts, and even with the campus police. One Liberty student filed a class-action lawsuit in a federal court in Virginia, saying that Liberty and Falwell had "placed students at severe physical risk and refused to refund thousands of dollars in fees owed to them for the Spring 2020 semester." The furor in Lynchburg centers on Falwell's decision to open the campus to all students and staff at a time when most American universities were closing for fear of spreading the disease. For weeks before that decision, Falwell had derided other universities' coronavirus responses as overreactions driven by a desire to harm Trump.


Ivanka Trump Ignores Social Distancing Rules

Trump's eldest daughter and a senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, has positioned herself as one of the leaders of the administration's economic relief efforts and one of its most vocal advocates of social distancing. However, Trump herself has not followed the federal guidelines advising against discretionary travel, leaving Washington for another one of her family's homes, even as she has publicly thanked people for self-quarantining. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a senior White House adviser, traveled with their children to the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey to celebrate the first night of Passover this month, according to people with knowledge of their travel plans, even as seders across the country were canceled and families gathered remotely over apps like Zoom.


Canada and U.S. Extend Border Restrictions

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the U.S. and Canada have agreed to keep their border closed to nonessential travel for another 30 days and he said it will be undoubtedly longer before the restriction is removed. Trudeau said that it will keep people on both sides of the border safe amid the pandemic.


European Nations Test Reopening

Slowly and tentatively, a handful of European countries began lifting constraints on daily life for the first time since the start of the coronavirus crisis, providing an early litmus test of whether Western democracies can gingerly restart their economies and restore basic freedoms without reviving the spread of the disease. Italy, the epicenter of Europe's crisis, reopened some bookshops and children's clothing stores. Spain allowed workers to return to factories and construction sites, despite a daily death toll that remains over 500. Austria allowed thousands of hardware and home improvement stores to reopen, as long as workers and customers wore masks. The fledgling, country-by-country loosening, enacted without any coordination between nations, underscored the absence of any common agreement, or even understanding, about the challenge of keeping economies alive while stemming the disease. The IMF has warned that the global economy is headed for its worst performance since the Great Depression.


Oil Giants Agree to Limit Output

Oil-producing nations have agreed to the largest production cut ever negotiated, in an unprecedented coordinated effort by Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States to stabilize oil prices and, indirectly, global financial markets.


Amazon to Suspend Operations in France Over Coronavirus Dispute

Amazon announced that it would temporarily halt its operations in France after a court ruled that the company had failed to adequately protect warehouse workers against the threat of the coronavirus and that it must restrict deliveries to only food, hygiene, and medical products until it addressed the issue. Amazon contested the findings of the ruling, handed down by a civil court outside Paris, and said that it would appeal. The court had given the company a deadline to carry out the order or face a fine of 1 million euros [nearly $1.1 million] per day. "We have suspended activities in our distribution centers in France, despite the huge investment we have made to ensure and strengthen safety measures for our employees," Amazon said in a statement, adding that it was "perplexed" by the court's decision.


Some Nations Need More Ventilators AND Soap and Water

South Sudan, a nation of 11 million, has more vice presidents than ventilators The Central African Republic has 3 ventilators for its 5 million people. In Liberia, which is similar in size, there are 6 working machines -- and one of them sits behind the gates of the United States Embassy. In all, fewer than 2,000 working ventilators have to serve hundreds of millions of people in public hospitals across 41 African countries, the WHO says, compared with more than 170,000 in the United States. Ten countries in Africa have none at all. Glaring disparities like these are just part of the reason people across Africa are steeling themselves for the coronavirus, fearful of outbreaks that could be catastrophic in countries with struggling health systems. The gaps are so entrenched that many experts are worried about chronic shortages of much more basic supplies needed to slow the spread of the disease and treat the sick on the continent -- things like masks, oxygen and, even more fundamentally, soap and water.


Prime Minister Leaves Hospital After Battling COVID-19

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain was discharged from the hospital, a major step forward in his recovery from the coronavirus and a welcome relief for a nation whose political leadership has been harder hit by the contagion than that of any other Western country.


Climate Change on a Drying Island

A delicate ecosystem was disrupted in the Comoros, off East Africa, when forests were cleared to make way for farmland. The consequences offer lessons for other parts of the developing world. Since the 1950s, the island has been clearing forests to make way for farmland and in the process disrupted a delicate ecosystem. With so many trees and plants cut down, the water they would normally collect and feed back into the ground and rivers is disappearing. Families in parts of the island now struggle to meet their domestic needs, and farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to irrigate their fields.


Chinese Woman Accuses Prominent Lawyer of Years of Sexual Abuse

An 18-year-old woman has accused a prominent lawyer of sexually abusing her for years. The woman alleges that at 14, she was sent by her mother to live with a successful businessman in Beijing, who was supposed to serve as her caretaker and guardian. Instead, over the course of several years, she says, he repeatedly raped her and held her in his home against her will. Her story, published in the Chinese news media in recent days, has become one of the most widely discussed topics in China, unleashing a wave of anger about the country's patriarchal culture and the authorities' reluctance to intervene in cases of sexual abuse. The case has become a pivotal test for China's fledgling #MeToo movement.


April 23, 2020

Was it Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 1947?

By Bennett Liebman
Government Lawyer in Residence
Albany Law School

April 15th has become the major celebratory day in modern baseball. It's Jackie Robinson Day, the day that Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball on opening day in 1947, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. It has become a seminal event, the day where American sports transformed broader American society. There are regular calls to turn April 15th into a national holiday.

However, despite our current view of Robinson's baseball baptism, a look at the actual media coverage of the event in 1947 shows a secondary or even tertiary story. The sportswriters and newspaper editors of 1947 did not see Robinson's breakthrough as the major story we think of today.

There were no front-page stories on Robinson integrating baseball. There were no banner headlines on the sports pages about Robinson.

In the New York papers, the Robinson story played third fiddle to 2 other stories at the Dodgers- Braves game. The focus was on the year-long suspension of Dodger manager Leo Durocher for gambling by baseball commissioner Happy Chandler. This was followed by the exploits of Dodger centerfielder "Pistol Pete" Reiser, who accounted for all the runs in the Dodgers 5-3 victory. Reiser went 2 for 2, drove in 2 runs and scored the other 3 runs. The Robinson debut finished third.

The main New York papers assigned a beat writer to cover the Dodger game plus a columnist.

At the hometown Brooklyn Eagle, the game story by Harold Burr did not mention Robinson until the ninth paragraph. Similarly, columnist Tommy Holmes, writing "Clinical Notes on Opening Day" first referred to Robinson in the eighth paragraph.

At the Daily News, beat reporter Dick Young mentioned Robinson only once, and that was in the fifth paragraph of his story. Columnist Jimmy Powers split his column between his views and the voice of the Brooklyn fans. He failed to mention Robinson in his views, but in the back half of his columns, 5 of the 17 fans referred to Robinson.

At The New York Times, beat writer Roscoe McGowen referred to Robinson only in passing in the sixth and fifteenth paragraph of his story. Future Pulitzer Prize Arthur Daley in his Sports of the Times column first acknowledged Robinson in the tenth paragraph of his column by noting that his debut was "quite uneventful."

Bob Cooke's beat story for the Herald Tribune mentioned Robinson 3 times in his story. The first mention, in the fifth paragraph of the story, noted that while many observers had come to the ballpark to see Robinson, "as the innings passed it was all any one could do to keep their eyes on Reiser." The Tribune's legendary columnist Red Smith wrote about Durocher's absence and its effect on attendance. Robinson did not make it into the column until the twelfth paragraph, after mentions of Spider Jorgenson and Earl Torgeson. Robinson was described as a "dark and anxious young man" as well as "able, nervous and uncertain of his fielding chores."

Nor was Robinson a presence in the articles written by the major sports columnists outside New York City. The most renown sportswriter of that era, Grantland Rice, wrote 2 columns on baseball in the days after Robinson's debut. One was on the comeback of pitcher Schoolboy Rowe; the other was on the fact that none of the most accomplished managers in baseball were managing in 1947. The other A list sports columnists, Arch Ward in the Chicago Tribune, Shirley Povich in the Washington Post, Braven Dyer in the Los Angeles Times, Hy Hurwitz in the Boston Globe, and Al Abrams in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did not write about the Robinson debut. Robinson was mentioned in the Boston Globe story in its game story with reporter Melville Webb stating, "Jack Robinson came nowhere near connecting for a hit, his longest blow being a pop fly to Litwhiler. The boy has a 'spread eagle" stance at the plate and handles his bat with no particular style."

The newspapers outside New York and Boston did not run their own articles on Robinson. The ones that did mention Robinson's play simply used wire service stories. The AP ran a 2-paragraph summary of the Dodger game with Robinson mentioned in the second paragraph. That was all that ran in Robinson's hometown Los Angeles Times as well as in many other papers. The United Press ran a summary of all the baseball games played on opening day, with the Robinson story making the seventh paragraph. The AP also did a separate sidebar on Robinson by Gayle Talbot, which featured Robinson saying that he wasn't nervous before the game. This ran in a very limited number of papers.

Even the Daily Worker, which had championed the integration of Major League Baseball, gave the Robinson story short shrift. The Worker's Lester Rodney mentioned Robinson in passing in the fourth paragraph and in the eleventh and final paragraph of his article. At the Daily Worker, the success of the masses played second fiddle to "Petey Reiser, the erstwhile cripple and favorite of the Flatbush fans."

On opening day in 1975, a reporter asked the Daily News' Dick Young about Robinson's 1947 debut at Ebbets Field. Young told the reporter he honestly couldn't remember it. It was not a surprising answer because to the media of the time, April 15, 1947 in Brooklyn was "Leo Durocher Day" or "Pete Reiser Day." It was certainly not "Jackie Robinson Day."

April 24, 2020

SCOTUS Rules Proving 'Willfulness' is Not Required for Plaintiffs to be Awarded Defendant's Trademark Profits

By Christine-Marie Lauture, Esq.

Resolving one of the most anticipated trademark rulings this year, on Thursday, April 23, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a trademark owner does not need to prove that a defendant's infringement was willful under federal trademark law in order to recover the infringer's profits. Full Opinion: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/18-1233_5he6.pdf.

In 2002, Romag Fastners, Inc., a company that sells magnetic snap fasteners for wallets, handbags, and other leather goods, entered into an agreement with Fossil Inc., the massive Texas-based company that designs, markets, and distributes fashion accessories, to use their magnetic fasteners on handbags Fossil had manufactured in China. In 2010, Romag brought suit in the District of Connecticut against Fossil (as well as other retailers) for trademark and patent infringement, alleging that factories in China were making Fossil goods and other products using counterfeit Romag fasteners. In 2014, a jury found Fossil liable for both claims, and in relation to the trademark claim, made an advisory award of $90,759.36 of Fossil's profits in actual damages, and $6.7 Million of Fossil's profits under a deterrence theory. Importantly, the jury found that Fossil's infringement was not willful, rather "in callous disregard" of Romag's rights. As such, the district court concluded that Romag was not entitled to an award of profits. Romag appealed to the Federal Circuit, and in 2016, it affirmed the lower court's decision. While Romag won on liability and actual damages, it was refused the $6.7 million it sought of Fossil's profits by the Federal Circuit, because it did not show proof that Fossil acted "willfully". After further proceedings, the Federal Circuit refused to allow Romag the award of Fossil's profits, and the Supreme Court granted cert.

In a unanimous decision, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote for the Court.

Lanham Act at Issue: §43(a), 15 U.S.C. §1125, and §35, 15 U.S.C. §1117(a)

Lanham Act §43(a), 15 U.S.C. §1125, provides, in relevant part, as follows:
(a) Civil action
(1) Any person who, or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which -
(A) Is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or
(B) In commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities,
shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is likely to be damaged by such act...

(c) Dilution by blurring; dilution by tarnishment
(1) Injunctive relief
Subject to the principles of equity, the owner of a famous mark that is distinctive, inherently or through acquired distinctiveness, shall be entitled to an injunction against another person who, at any time after the owner's mark has become famous, commences use of a mark or trade name in commerce that is likely to cause dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment of the famous mark, regardless of the presence or absence of actual or likely confusion, of competition, or of actual economic injury.

(d) Cyberpiracy prevention
(A) A person shall be liable in a civil action by the owner of a mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section, if, without regard to the goods or services of the parties, that person -
(i) has a bad faith intent to profit from that mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section; and
(ii) registers, traffics, in, or uses a domain name that -
(I) in the case of a mark that is distinctive at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to the mark;
(II) in the case of a famous mark that is famous at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to or dilutive of that mark; or
(III) is trademark, word, or name protected by reason or section 706 of title 18 or section 220506 of title 36.

The section of the Lanham Act at issue in Romag, which sets forth remedies for violation of §43, provides in relevant part: "When...a violation under section 1125(a) or (d) of this title, or a willful violation under sections 1125(c) of this title, shall have been established in any civil action arising under this chapter, the plaintiff shall be entitled...subject to the principles of equity, to recover (1) defendant's profits, (2) any damages sustained by the plaintiff, and (3) the costs of the action.

Previous Circuit Split on Willfulness Requirement

There has been a long-standing circuit split on whether willfulness is a required element of proof to recover disgorgement of an infringer's profits in a trademark infringement action. From one side, the Second, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits require plaintiffs to prove of willfulness to recover an award of an infringer's profits under §35 for violating of §43(a). Similarly, the First Circuit requires plaintiffs to prove willfulness, but only where the subject parties are not direct competitors. From the other side, the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuits do not require proof of willfulness in order for a plaintiff to recover under §35 for violating of §43(a). The infringer's intent, in these circuits, is only one of the factors considered in weighing for an award of profits.


Disagreeing with the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court reversed its decision and ruled that "mens rea" is only a consideration for an award of the infringer's profits and "[t]he absence of any such standard in the provision before us, thus, seems all the more telling." Pointing to the language of the Statute, as amended in 1999, there is a showing of willfulness as "a precondition to a profits award when the plaintiff proceeds under §1125(c)...but Romag alleged and proved a violation of §1125(a), a provision establishing a cause of action for the false or misleading use of trademarks." Justice Gorsuch added, "in cases like that, the statutory language has never required a showing of willfulness to win a defendant's profits." He further advised that the Supreme Court does not "usually read into statutes words that aren't there. It's a temptation we are doubly careful to avoid when Congress has (as here) included the term in question elsewhere in the very same statutory provision."

While a showing of willfulness is not required to recover an infringer's profits, Justice Gorsuch added that it is still an important factor for courts to consider when weighing an award for profits: "...we do not doubt that a trademark defendant's mental state is a highly important consideration in determining whether an award of profits is appropriate. But acknowledging that much is a far cry from insisting on the inflexible precondition to recovery Fossil advances." The Court does not find that the mindset of an infringer should be an "inflexible precondition." Sticking to a close reading of the statutory language of 15 U.S.C. §1117(a), the Court could not support the weight of a willfulness prerequisite.


Justices Alito (joined by Justices Breyer and Kagan) concurred in agreeing that the lower court's decision, holding that willfulness is a prerequisite to an award for profits under 15 U. S. C. §1117(a), is incorrect. Willfulness is "a highly important consideration...but not an absolute precondition."

Justice Sotomayor, concurring with the majority only in the judgment and not in the opinion, distinguishes the award of profits by pointing to the principles in courts of equity as they relate to "innocent infringement." Sotomayor found the majority "agnostic about awarding profits for both 'willful' and innocent infringers," leading her to not join in the opinion.

What This Means Going Forward

For circuits that have had a high-bar standard of "willfulness" in reverse confusion trademark cases, such as the Second and Ninth Circuits, today's ruling very well may extend to those standards. Further, Justice Sotomayor's concurrence seems to leave open the issue of disgorgement of profits for "innocent infringers."

For brand owners, this decision may certainly serve as a sigh of relief. As willfulness typically is a difficult element to prove, this no longer being a requirement means, from Romag's perspective, obtaining an infringer's profits may bring a more meaningful monetary relief that trademark owners can secure.

As far as preventative measures between business partners involving suppliers, it is imperative, now more than before SCOTUS's ruling, to have thorough agreements in place that address how to deal with and remedy issues with counterfeit goods. Specifically, there should be a specified limitation of liability clause for the supplier that addresses the issue of counterfeit goods. Such a limiting clause would put the duty of inspecting final products on the contracting company to ensure that its goods are not counterfeit, prior to product placement and sale.

April 27, 2020

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media/Technology, Coronavirus, and General News:


Hollywood Production Grinds to a Halt as a Result of the Pandemic

Shooting is not expected to resume until August and some workers are trying to find ways to finish projects remotely, including assembling orchestras where musicians abide by social distancing rules or coaching writers over Zoom. Given theatre closures, some independent distributors are also considering streaming.



The Metropolitan Museum of ArtAnnounces Layoffs

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced layoffs for more than 80 employees and said it would cut executive pay by up to 20%. The layoffs amount to a 26% reduction in staff across its visitor services and retail departments.


Auction Houses Pivot to Online Sales

In response to Covid-19, auction houses like Sotheby's, Christie's, and Philips are stepping up digital sales. However, it is still unclear if the spring auctions, which anchor the art market calendar, will be cancelled or postponed.


Times Were Different Then: The Pandemic Is Not Expected to Revive FDR's Arts Jobs Program

The Federal Art Project, part of President Roosevelt's employment plan under the New Deal, provided a generation of artists with the ability to earn an income. Recent calls for economic relief that benefits artists remained just that - it is unlikely that in today's political climate, given the partisan divide, such a sprawling program would ever be passed.


The Man Behind One of the Biggest Art Scams Speaks Out in New Interview

Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz was charged in connection to the Knoedler Gallery's sale of $80 million worth of fake art. The former art dealer is now a fugitive in Spain. In a recent interview, he blamed his then-girlfriend for selling the works through the Knoedler Gallery, but did admit that he discovered the art student who was responsible for creating forgeries of the paintings.


Many of New York's Cultural Institutions Will Take Years to Bounce Back

The City's theaters, museums, and restaurants, among the hardest hit in the pandemic, will likely take years to come back.


Graphic Designers and Illustrators Create Images to Support Health and Public Safety

Illustrators and other artists are banding together to create artwork that promotes public health and public service messages. The artwork is being put on electronic billboards across New York City.


Victoria's Secret Buyer Tries to Cancel Takeover

The sale is now in jeopardy after the buyer says that the company's store closures during the pandemic violate the terms of the agreement, which prohibited Victoria's Secret from changing "any cash management policies, practices, principles or methodologies." The private equity firm also took issue with the parent company's decision to furlough employees and cut salaries.


Art Re-enactments Gain Traction Online

Art parodies that started in Russia have now evolved into quite the pastime for many art fans who try to recreate their favorite paintings.



Major Sports Yearning for a Comeback

Major league sports have been on pause for over a month now and the hurdles to any return are many. Before any return is possible, leagues want to secure access to tests and be able to get players and officials to agree to certain conditions, including strict confinement. The National Basketball Association has directed teams in states that have eased restrictions to open up training facilities for individual workouts.

The return of U.S. sports would also depend on decisions in Canada, which is operating under a prohibition on all large gatherings that goes well into this summer. The trajectory of the virus in Canada, and the government's response there, is especially important for the National Hockey League, which has 7 teams in Canada.



Conflict Between Tokyo Organizers and International Olympic Committee Over Who Will Pay for Games Delay

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee has asked the International Olympic Committee to remove a comment from its website suggesting that Japan had agreed to shoulder most of the costs resulting from the year-long postponement, a cost that is estimated to be between $2 and $6 billion. Meanwhile, a Japanese professor of infectious diseases said he is very pessimistic about the games opening in 15 months.



Major League Baseball Announces Penalties in Red Sox Sign-Stealing Scandal

Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the Red Sox would be stripped of its second-round pick in this year's draft. The replay system operator was suspended without pay for a year for violating the ban on in-game use of video to identify pitch signals. Major League Baseball also suspended Alex Cora through the 2020 season for his 2017 role as Astros bench coach (as part of that team's sign-stealing scandal), not as Red Sox manager in 2018.


UFC Schedules Three May Events in Florida

The Jacksonville events are scheduled for early to mid-May. One is the same fight that was planned to occur on tribal land in California but was cancelled after state officials, medical personnel, and Disney expressed concerns. Fans will not be allowed in the arena.


Tennis Bodies Approve $6 Million Relief Fund for Lower-Ranked Players

Contributions are expected to come from each of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments, as well as the International Tennis Federation. The men's and women's tours (the ATP and the WTA) will administer the funds and primarily distribute them to singles players ranked outside the top 200.


Youth Sports Organizations Worry About Impact of the Pandemic

Over 113 youth sports organizations have asked Congress for $8.5 billion in funding to offset the anticipated losses from camp and event cancellations this summer. Organizations are also worried that even when games do return, parents will not be spending to the same extent as they have in the past. Youth sports generate more than $15 billion annually.


Golfers Still Managing to Play Despite Broad Closures

In Florida, for instance, the sport is allowed under the state's stay-at-home order, but local officials have superseded that mandate with their own and closed golf courses. However, "renegade golfers" are entering properties that course managers say they cannot police 24 hours a day.



Google Will Require Proof of Identity from All Advertisers

Google has expanded its verification policy to confirm the names of companies or people behind ads, as well as their countries of origin. That information will start appearing on its ads this summer. The move is meant to clamp down on misinformation related to the pandemic.


Zoom Raises Encryption Level with Upgraded App

A new version of the app will be available soon. Zoom 5.0 will have more encryption features. The app has also made several changes to its user interface, and account administrators can choose data center regions for their meetings following criticism that some data was routed through servers in China. Business partners like Dropbox knew about Zoom's security flaws well before its recent rise in popularity, and in fact asked hackers to find security vulnerabilities and fix them.



Advertising Agencies Asked to Create Commercials Using Altered Footage

Manipulated footage may start appearing in commercials now that ad agencies are unable to film new content. An example of this was a recent State Farm commercial that ran on ESPN during the Michael Jordan documentary, "The Last Dance." Ad agencies will start exploring computer generated content, but say that viewers should be made aware that what they are seeing is not real.


Fox News Personalities Stop Discussing Malaria Drug After Weeks of Touting its Benefits

Fox News anchors promoted the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for weeks, often while levying criticism at public health officials who urged caution and called for studies on the efficacy of the drug in treating Covid-19. Recent guests of their shows, however, have started noting there is no clear positive benefit of treating the coronavirus with the drug, as a matter of fact it can be harmful to many, and there considerably fewer mentions of the drug.


Lawsuit Claims That Florida Teen Was Told to Take Down Coronavirus Posts by Local Sheriff

The 16-year-old's family says she was asked to take down Instagram posts about her experience with Covid-19 because the posts had upset parents at her school and risked violating rules on disorderly conduct.


Google and Facebook Will Pay Australian Media Outlets for News Content

The Australian government's decision to require Google and Facebook to compensate media outlets for news content in the country is part of an effort to support local publishers by forcing tech giants to share some of their advertising revenue.


Pandemic Threatens Press Freedom Around the World

According to the World Press Freedom Index, the United States and Brazil are becoming "models of hostility toward the news media." The report also singled out China, Iran, and Iraq for censoring coverage of the outbreak. To enforce censorship, some countries are either engaging in or allowing journalists to be physically assaulted and harassed.


U.S. Expulsion of Chinese Journalists Backfired at a Critical Time

The article takes the position that the State Department, in expelling 60 employees of Chinese state media outlets working in the U.S., set off an ill-timed chain reaction that led China to expel American journalists at a time when access to China (and to its coronavirus response) was critical.


Chinese Agents Helped Spread Disinformation About Government Response to Coronavirus

Fake posts sent via text or circulated on social media warned U.S. citizens that the Trump administration was going to lock down the entire country, adding that the government had troops in place to prevent civil unrest. American officials say the operatives adopted some of the same techniques employed by Russia-backed trolls, including the widespread use of fake social media posts.


China Deploys Propaganda Machine with Selective Coverage of the Coronavirus

The article tracks the way Chinese media is increasingly highlighting other countries' mistakes in managing the pandemic, while simultaneously censoring reports of its own failures.


Harry and Meghan Cut off U.K. Tabloids

By way of a letter to the editors of four tabloids, the couple announced that they would no longer engage with the publications. They accused the papers of reporting distorted and false information about them and clarified that their move was not an attempt to shut down critical coverage.


General News

Earth Day Turns 50

50 years after the original Earth Day, the New York Times tracks the biggest environmental victories and failures and reflects on the impact of the movement in the U.S.



Jobless Numbers Surpass 26 Million in the U.S.

Another 4.4 million unemployment claims were added last week and delays in delivering benefits have become a problem. Only 10 states have made payments under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which also supports those who are self-employed or work part time. Earlier this week, Congress passed a $484 billion relief package to replenish depleted funds for small businesses.


President Trump Signs Fourth Coronavirus Relief Package Worth $484 Billion

The measure provides relief for small businesses by replenishing the earlier loan program. It also provides funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing.



Banks Steered Their Richest Clients to Federal Aid; Small-Business Owners Sue

Bank employees and executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity say that banks prioritized the applications of their wealthiest clients before helping smaller businesses, and by that time funds in the $349 billion aid program were depleted. These clients were able to submit paperwork to their banks instead of having to use the online portal to apply for a loan. A portal at one of the other banks accepted preliminary requests to apply but was only accessible for a limited amount of time on the first day of the program and customers had to wait until they could be assisted by a representative. Small business owners are now suing the banks, claiming that applications were not processed in the order received.


Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Says States Should Consider Bankruptcy

In lieu of federal aid by way of pandemic relief legislation, Senator McConnell said that states experiencing budget crises should consider bankruptcy and raised the possibility of that becoming available. The comments drew sharp criticism from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said the comments were politically motivated and distinguished among states based on their political leanings. Some of the hardest-hit states, like New York and California, happen to mostly vote Democratic. Furthermore, under Constitutional law, states cannot declare bankruptcy without approval from Congress.


House Democrats Scrap Plan to Promote Remote Voting During Pandemic

House Democrats had planned to propose a change to the rules of the House of Representatives to allow lawmakers to vote remotely. The rule change would have temporarily allowed House members to cast votes by proxy if they were unable to travel. Facing Republican opposition, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a bipartisan group would instead consider remote voting proposals and plans to reopen the House.


Trump Temporarily Suspends Immigration to U.S.

The president signed an executive order temporarily blocking the issuance of green cards to those outside the U.S. for at least 60 days. The executive order was made over concerns that foreign competition will take away jobs from Americans once the shutdown ends. Those who have been issued visas to perform specialized jobs would not be permitted to arrive, although there are some industry-specific exeptions.


Teenage Migrants in ICE Custody Facing Jail Once They Turn 18

Individuals who are taken into custody as minors are being moved into the adult detention centers when they turn 18. Both forms of custody pose serious concerns about the teenagers contracting the coronavirus.


Supreme Court Bans Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts for Serious Crimes

The verdict will impact Louisiana and Oregon, the only 2 states that have recently allowed non-unanimous verdicts. After Louisiana amended its state constitution to bar the practice, Oregon remained the last state to allow these types of verdicts in criminal cases. The Supreme Court's position has been clear that non-unanimous verdicts were not permitted under the Sixth Amendment in federal criminal trials. It was also generally understood that the Bill of Rights protections applied to state action under the Fourteenth Amendment.

However, a 1972 decision complicated the Court's position after the Justice who cast the controlling vote said that federal and state cases could be treated differently. Justice Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said non-unanimity rules were rooted in racism and were put in place "to ensure that African-American juror service would be meaningless." Dissenting justices spoke of the risk of increased litigation following a ban on non-unanimous verdicts, including post-conviction challenges.


Supreme Court Says That the Clean Water Act Covers Groundwater Discharges

In a 6-to-3 ruling, the Court rejected arguments that only pollution discharged directly into navigable waters requires a permit, the absence of which can subject polluters to daily fines of more than $50,000. Instead, it ruled that other pollutants that reach protected waters indirectly through groundwater are covered by the act. Noting that the standard for when this occurs might be too broad, Justice Breyer wrote that the legal test should be as follows: Whether "the addition of the pollutants through groundwater is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters."


Supreme Court Rules Against Montana Residents in Environmental Contamination Case

The Court held that landowners could not sue Atlantic Richfield Company to help them restore property contaminated by its copper smelter in Montana. The residents could not force it to do more than a federal cleanup plan requires, unless the Environmental Protection Agency approves additional remediation.


The Food and Drug Administration Authorizes First In-Home Coronavirus Test

LabCorp's nasal swab kit costs $119 and will be made available to health care and front-line workers first. Patients will mail the swab in an insulated package to be tested by the company. The availability of this test will decrease exposure to health care staff and cut down on the demand for protective equipment donned by medical staff when collecting specimens.


Antibody Tests Are Rapidly Being Developed, but Many Are Inaccurate

Antibody testing can be used to conduct public health surveillance, determine the fatality rate, and identify recovered individuals to inform return-to-work policies or to identify those who may be a source of therapeutic antibodies. However, the sensitivity of these tests and how they are being administered is problematic and can end up exacerbating spread.

Scientists say that only 3 of the 14 tests currently on the market delivered consistently reliable results. False negatives are highly consequential, because they may lead individuals or decision makers to relax transmission measures or they could have healthcare providers returning to work prematurely.



Testing Remains Scarce as Governors Consider Reopening States

States around the U.S. continue to deal with a shortage of testing capacity, both due to the shortage of kits, reagents, and lab testing capacity. There has been no full-scale national mobilization, leaving states to procure the equipment they need and do so in competition with each other. With Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alaska lifting some restrictions, low testing capacity remains a concern, because it directly impacts a state's ability to track outbreaks and contain them, especially as businesses reopen.




Republican-Led Review Backs Finding on Russian Interference in 2016 Election

The Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed the intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and found it to be sound and untainted by politics.


U.S. May Share Less Intelligence with Nations that Criminalize Homosexuality

The acting director of national intelligence hopes the move will encourage countries, including some critical American intelligence partners like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to change their laws. The office is also reviewing the security clearance process to ensure that contractors and FBI agents are not being asked discriminatory questions during background checks.


Scammers Targeting Stimulus Checks

Identity theft is on the rise as criminals are using information available from past data breaches to file taxes and claim stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, depriving many Americans of much needed money. The IRS website has come under criticism for how little information it requires from those trying to get their checks.


Data Shows That the Coronavirus Disproportionately Impacts African Americans

The racial disparity in infections and deaths is once again shedding light on the need to achieve health equity in America, as well as the need for fair economic response and recovery measures. "The goal is targeted legislation, financial investments and government and corporate accountability."


Scientists Disagree with Trump's Assertion That Coronavirus May Not Return in the Fall

Public health experts warn that fall and winter will be difficult because influenza and the coronavirus will be circulating at the same time, a conclusion that contradicts President Trump's prediction that the virus could be back in pockets or not at all. The president clarified that if the virus does return, it will be different than it was.


As President Trump Praised Coronavirus Drugs, Prescriptions Surged

Prescriptions for two antimalarial drugs jumped by 46 times the average after the president promoted them on TV. Health officials find the jump particularly concerning, since the drugs are not proven to work against Covid-19.


Health Department Official Says That He Was Dismissed Over His Views on Hydroxychloroquine

The official leading the agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said that he was removed from his post after he insisted on rigorous testing of hydroxychloroquine as a possible coronavirus treatment. He said that he was pressured to direct money toward hydroxychloroquine despite lack of evidence about its effectiveness. Members of Congress are calling for an investigation into the ouster.



Trump's Suggestion that Disinfectants Can Treat Covid-19 Prompts Health Officials and Companies to Issue Warnings

Following the president's remarks, some health hotlines were inundated with calls from people asking whether disinfectant can treat the virus. Health agencies and private companies issued statements warning customers against injecting or ingesting poisonous products.


Trump Speech to Bring 1,000 West Point Cadets Back to Campus

The Naval Academy had been considering a delayed commencement in June with Vice President Pence. Last week, the president made a surprise announcement that he would be speaking at West Point prior to then, something that was previously postponed, effectively calling back to campus the entire graduating class.


Navy Leaders Recommend Reinstating Captain Fired Over Coronavirus Warning

Following its review, the Navy's top officials have recommended that Captain Crozier be reinstated. He was removed from command after sending a letter pleading for help, knowing there were coronavirus infections aboard the Roosevelt. Defense Secretary Mark Esper wants time to consider the recommendation.


Teachers' Unions Respond to New Work Condition Now That Education Shifts Online

With the expansion of online education during the pandemic, unions are seeking new protections for their members, including limiting the number of hours and days that teachers are required to work from home and doing away with fixed lesson times. Some want schools to transition to end-of-year projects that students can work on at flexible times, while others are calling for a moratorium on grades and teacher evaluations.


Oklahoma City Marks 25 Years Since Bombing That Killed 168 People

The city organized a video tribute to commemorate the lives lost on April 19, 1995 when Timothy McVeigh drove a massive truck bomb into a federal office building. McVeigh and his co-conspirator were former U.S. army officers associated with the extreme right-wing Patriotic movements, which views the federal government and law enforcement as illegitimate.


Coronavirus Could Raise the Risk for Climate Disasters

The risk is attributed to states and cities redirecting money set aside for climate-related projects to fund emergency services and deal with budgetary shortfalls. This will likely delay climate adaptation, including sea wall projects in cities like San Francisco, Miami, and New York.


A Decade After Deepwater Horizon, U.S. Is Still Vulnerable to Catastrophic Spills

A bipartisan commission tasked with investigating the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico says that many of their recommendations, including ones on drilling safety, were never taken seriously. They say that another spill of equally disastrous proportions is possible, as drilling continues to move farther offshore, deeper underwater, and expanded in nearly all American waters.

The explosion at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was the worst offshore oil spill in United States history and sent more than 3 million barrels of oil into the waters off the coast of Louisiana. New rules under the Trump administration reduced the frequency of safety testing for blowout preventers and gave industry more leeway to determine the range of pressure in a well that is considered safe for drilling.


Oil Prices Go Negative

The new low of $30 below zero signals that there is no place to store all the crude oil that is being produced globally at a time when demand for oil is collapsing.


Trump Hotel May Be Seeking Relief From Federal Government

The Trump Organization pays about $3 million a year to the federal government for the lease on its D.C. hotel. The company signed a 60-year-lease in 2013 that requires monthly payments. Eric Trump confirmed that the company has inquired about changing the terms of the lease, given the economic downturn.


The Experience of Professional Women During a Pandemic

Data suggests that the time women are spending on unpaid work, quite high before the pandemic, has "expanded exponentially in recent weeks," as they assist with home-schooling children and helping family members vulnerable to the virus. Oftentimes, this is at the expense of their careers and work-life balance.


Doctors Are Having to Balance the Risk of Their Profession With their Parenting Duties

The article describes the strain the pandemic is putting on medical workers, especially those who are parents. Some are drafting their wills and deciding on guardians for their children.


Brands and Influencers Have the Pandemic in Mind but Avoid Overt References

Retailers and markets are telling bloggers and other social media personalities to continue driving consumer shopping trends by using a softer approach. Some ask their bloggers to make relatable posts about life at home and adjust the tone of their messaging to balance their shopping posts.


Antibody Tests Suggests That 1 in 5 New Yorkers May Have Had Covid-19

The results from random preliminary testing suggest that the virus has spread more widely than known in New York City.


High Rates of Infection Among Spectrum Employees Spur Call for Changes to Work Policy

Thousands of people have signed a petition criticizing the cable and internet company's work policy, which still requires employees to work in offices and call centers. Over 200 workers have tested positive for Covid-19. The New York attorney general's office has opened an inquiry into the company, whose work is deemed an essential service.


Coronavirus Was Circulating in California Earlier Than Originally Thought

Two February deaths in the state have now been linked to the virus. They happened about 3 weeks before the U.S. reported its first death from the disease. The Governor declined to say whether this information, had it been known earlier, would have prompted him to order an earlier shutdown.


Seven Coronavirus Cases Tied to Election Day in Wisconsin

Despite an active stay-at-home order, Wisconsin proceeded with in-person voting on April 7. Seven cases (one poll worker and 6 voters) are now tied to voting in Milwaukee. The legislature had refused to postpone the election or expand voting by mail. Poll workers, many of whom are older and among the most vulnerable, did not report to work.


President Trump Critical of Georgia Governor's Decision to Reopen State

Governor Brian Kemp said some businesses in Georgia could resume by Friday, April 24, a move that President Trump and public health officials consider premature. The plan would see restaurants opening the following week, along with entertainment venues. Any business that chooses to reopen will be required to enforce social distancing rules.


Companies Face A Patchwork of Regulations as They Consider Reopening; Many Cautious in Doing So

Despite regional plans to reopen the economy, some businesses are declining to do so, as they fear that reopening too soon could trigger a new wave of infections and lead to yet another round of closings. While some are introducing temperature checks and instituting social distancing rules in the workplace, businesses like movie theaters have no intention of opening, even in those states that are lifting restrictions.


Conservative Groups Amplify Voice of Anti-Lockdown Protesters

A network of mostly state-based conservative groups have called on their members to drive up turnout at recent anti-lockdown protests across the U.S. They are also financing lawsuits against stay-at-home orders and seem to have brought together a coalition of fiscal conservatives, religious groups and civil libertarians.


"How Abortion, Guns and Church Closings Made Coronavirus a Culture War"

The article explains how recent demonstrators defying social distancing guidelines represented a panoply of interests, including gun rights, religious freedom, and pro-choice movements.


Texas Allows Abortions to Resume During Pandemic

The state eased restrictions on some surgical procedures, including abortions, which it had previously characterized as "elective procedures" and ordered they be delayed during the pandemic to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers. Abortion clinics challenged the order in court. The current order now permits select surgical procedures to be performed if the facilities certify in writing that they will reserve 25 of their capacity for coronavirus patients and will not request PPE from a public source.


Focusing on China's Role in the Pandemic Appears to Be a Key G.O.P. Strategy

From Republican Congressional members preparing to seek re-election to the president's own campaign aides, the Republican strategy is to focus on China's role in spreading the virus. The article argues that the president's own slow response to the outbreak, and his conflicted messaging on China, will hurt him with voters.


265 Million People Could Face Starvation Due to Global Food Crisis

Experts say that the coronavirus will exacerbate food insecurity by disrupting agricultural production and supply routes, which could double the number of people that will be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020.


U.S. Warships Enter Disputed Waters of South China Sea

Activity is unabated in the South China Sea as Chinese, Australian, and now American warships enter the strategic waterway through which one-third of global shipping flows. After a Chinese patrol ship sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat in the area earlier this month, the State Department urged China to remain focused on supporting global efforts to fight the pandemic, instead of "exploiting the distraction ... to expand its unlawful claims." China's claims conflict with demarcations made by 5 other governments.


Succumbing to Pressure, the European Union Softens its Report on China's Covid-19 Disinformation

European Union (EU) officials softened their criticism of China in a report that documented how governments push disinformation about the pandemic. The initial report said that both Russia and China promoted false health information, with China falsely accusing French politicians of using racist slurs against the head of the World Health Organization. China threatened to react if some of the language was not toned down or outright removed, and the EU delayed publication of the report until it was revised.


Amazon Loses Appeal in French Court Over Sale of Nonessential Items

French unions sued Amazon over workplace safety after it continued to keep its warehouses open for delivery of nonessential items. The court order requires Amazon to deliver only certain items until it carries out a risk evaluation of sites that employ French unions.


Pandemic Creates a Different Ramadan Experience

Festivals, mass prayers, and family visits that mark the month of Ramadan have, for the most part, been cancelled this year as Muslim communities experience a more subdued Ramadan under coronavirus lockdown.


Poland's and Hungary's Governments Use the Pandemic to Consolidate Power

The European Union has repurposed close to $40 billion in structural aid funds to help newer members fight the pandemic. Hungary and Poland were among the recipients, but governing parties in both countries are moving to consolidate power and undermine their opposition during the crisis. Poland's government, for example, is pushing for the May 10 presidential election to be held entirely by mail, which the postal union says is impossible.


Russian Towns Impacted by Coronavirus Silent

The remote Russian region of Komi trails Moscow in coronavirus infections, but reports say that local authorities moved to control what was being shared publicly. President Putin has mostly delegated handling of the coronavirus to regional leaders, and in doing so, has empowered local governments' instincts to cover up bad news.


Dozens Test Positive for Coronavirus in Afghanistan's Presidential Palace

At least 40 staff members have tested positive for Covid-19 and the country's president is in isolation. The country has reported just under 1,000 cases.


April 29, 2020

USPTO Extends Certain Patent and Trademark Deadlines to June 1

April 28, 2020

In accordance with the temporary authority provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed by President Trump on March 27, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today further extended the time to file certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees, which otherwise would have been due between March 27 and May 31, to June 1, 2020. This is in addition to the prior extension the USPTO had announced on March 31, 2020.

"Innovation and entrepreneurship will play a key role in our fight against this pandemic, and in the upcoming recovery of our country," said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. "Accordingly, the USPTO continues to assess measures to support the work of inventors and entrepreneurs during this crisis and beyond."

For details of the latest extension, read the official Patent and Trademark notices on our website. The USPTO will continue to evaluate the evolving situation around COVID-19 and the impact on the USPTO's operations and stakeholders.

The new notices supersede the previously posted:

"Notice of Waiver of Patent-Related Timing Deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," dated March 31, 2020;
"Notice of Waiver of Trademark-Related Timing Deadlines under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," dated March 31, 2020; and
"Relief Available to Patent and Trademark Applicants, Patentees and Trademark Owners Affected by the Coronavirus Outbreak," dated March 16, 2020.
The USPTO will also update its answers to the CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in accordance with these notices.

About April 2020

This page contains all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in April 2020. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2020 is the previous archive.

May 2020 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.