Music and film industry call on Congress to fix 'flaws' in coronavirus relief

Music and film industry call on Congress to fix 'flaws' in coronavirus relief
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Industry groups that represent music and film are asking Congress for specific assistance to their sector that, they say, was not provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“There is no sugarcoating this: the entire live entertainment industry has been decimated,” several groups, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), wrote to congressional leadership on Friday.

The groups explained that creators are often freelancers, independent contractors or self-employed and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) should allow employers to make payments to those people.

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“The workers in our industry cannot afford to be shut out of federal assistance on such a technicality and any future plan should recognize self-employed individuals as eligible payroll participants,” they wrote.

They also said PPP is “overly burdensome and restrictive” and would force smaller, independent creators to secure professional accounting. They said it should instead calculate loans based on consideration of any compensation to a sole proprietor or independent contractor.

The letter noted that the Small Business Administration limited the Economic Injury Disaster Loan grant of up to $10,000 to $1,000 per employee.

“This means self-employed individuals who do not have employees are unfairly penalized, even though they need immediate relief just as much as any other small business,” they wrote.

They also called for national guidelines to facilitate touring and live performances from musicians and entertainers in venues once the economy reopens to ensure safety. 

“Even when business restrictions are eased, it will take much longer to restore the social interaction inherently necessary for the creative industries to operate,” the groups wrote. “For those of us in the creative field to survive — and recover — after this crisis, we must be able to access the full support intended by Congress.”

The letter was signed by the Country Music Association, the Artist Rights Watch, Gospel Music Association, Folk Alliance International, Digital Media Association, the National Independent Venue Association, the National Songwriters Association International and the Music Artists Coalition, among others.