COVID-19 | Free Online Legal Workshops

COVID-19 | Free Online Legal Workshops

May and June workshop series will cover topics including tenants’ rights, Copyright and fair use, the CARES Act, and more.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the Pro Bono Steering Committee of New York State Bar Association’s Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section (EASL) are collaborating to offer a series of free online workshops to support creative communities. This is the latest initiative in NYFA’s long partnership with EASL, which has included numerous legal clinics and related programs, as well as some lawyers from EASL contributing on the legal chapters of NYFA’s The Profitable Artist (Allworth Press, 2018).

NYFA’s mission is to empower working artists and emerging arts organizations across all disciplines at critical stages in their creative lives and professional/organizational development. We aim to be a resource to artists, arts administrators, and students everywhere, especially when so many in our creative community are reeling from lost jobs, opportunities, and income as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

This series of online workshops is a guide and is for general informational purposes only. It does not provide any specific legal advice nor create any attorney-client relationships.

All the workshops will be recorded and shared with all previously-registered participants after the session concludes. They will be available for viewing up to one month after the workshop date.

Title: A Tenant’s Guide into the Unknown
Date: Thursday, May 7, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
Presenter: Tin-Fu (Tiffany) Tsai, Esq. Co-Chair of EASL’s Pro Bono Steering Committee
Register: Here via Eventbrite

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, New York tenants are losing sleep over uncertainties. This presentation aims to provide peace of mind by answering the following questions:

  • Can my landlord evict me?
  • Do I need to pay rent?
  • What is the force majeure clause and does my lease include it?
  • What are the strategies I could use when negotiating with my landlord?

Title: Copyrights and Coronavirus
Date: Thursday, May 14, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
Presenter: Elissa D. Hecker, Co-Chair of EASL’s Pro Bono Committee
Register: Here via Eventbrite

Protecting and understanding Copyright is a complex issue during normal times, but with increased digital uses during the pandemic, how can you protect your copyrighted intellectual property? How do you make sure to use others’ copyrighted works properly?

This workshop will provide an introduction to the basics of U.S. Copyright law. It will also focus on many types of licensing and the fair use defense.

Title: Congress CARES/ (Equity and) Aid for Artists
Date: Thursday, May 21, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT
Presenters: Cheryl L. Davis, Diane Krausz, and Ariana Sarfarazi
Register: Here via Eventbrite

While the Federal government has allocated some funds to help support individuals through the CARES Act, New York State, New York City, and some artist-related entities are also trying to help artists regain some portion of their lost income and opportunities. This webinar will provide an explanation of the CARES Act and the funds that are allocable to artists and other freelancers, as well as describing additional grants or other funding sources available to artists from New York State, New York City, and/or private organizations.

Title: Immigration for Artists and Entertainers: Visas and COVID-19
Date: Tuesday, May 26, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM EDT
Presenter: Michael Cataliotti, Attorney & Counselor at Law  
Register: Here via Eventbrite

While immigration has been a hot topic for the last several years, the discussion around business immigration has been sporadic and focused on “tech” jobs or those under H-1B visas. But what about artists and entertainers? In this program, we will look at U.S. immigration policy and practices for international artists, entertainers, and entrepreneurs who seek to enter or remain in the United States. Beginning by presenting an overview of arts and entertainment immigration, we will then transition into the most frequently utilized non-immigrant visa classifications, focusing on each one individually. Of course, considering the tumultuous treatment of immigrants and immigration policy since 2017, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will also discuss the impact of social-distancing measures, grants, unemployment, and the like on individual visa classifications and immigration statuses. You’ll walk away with a clearer sense of the immigration process and what you can, or cannot, should, or should not do when pursuing a visa.

Title: Contracts and Coronavirus
Date: Thursday, June 4, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
Presenter: Elissa D. Hecker, Co-Chair of EASL’s Pro Bono Committee
Register: Here via Eventbrite

The Coronavirus pandemic has interrupted business as usual. This webinar will focus on the elements of drafting a strong contract and will review options parties may have if they cannot perform contractual obligations due to the pandemic.

This program is presented by NYFA Learning. Sign up here to receive NYFA News, a bi-weekly organizational email for upcoming awards, resources, and professional development. NYFA Learning also offers the monthly Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program (IAP) Newsletter if you are interested in opportunities, professional development, events, and tips and advice specific to immigrant artists.

If you need resources, please check our Emergency Grants page on NYFA’s website. We are updating it regularly as new funding comes in. You can find more articles on arts career topics by visiting the Business of Art section of

Image Detail: Sinan Tuncay (Fellow in Photography ’16), Neighborhood, from the series “Cemaat,“ 2011, archival pigment print

Amy Aronoff
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