Top Democrats are concerned about the merger, which could potentially violate antitrust laws. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary antitrust committee, is concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers, and also commented that this merger was “another industry-changing merger, which would have major implications in television, film, and media.”
Klobucher has reportedly asked Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chair the antitrust subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee, respectively, to schedule a hearing on the matter.
Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) called for his committee, the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, to take a closer look at the deal as well. “Disney’s proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox threatens to put control of TV, movie, and news content into the hands of a single media giant,” he said.
“If it’s approved,” he continued, “this merger could allow Disney to limit what consumers can watch and increase their cable bills. Disney will gain more than 300 channels, 22 regional sports networks, control over Hulu, and a significant portion of Roku.”
Episode 5 of the of Game of Thrones will air on Sunday. As with episode 4, an outline of the script has been circulating online in what seems to be the latest leak from the huge HBO hack. It seemed like a big deal at first. Nearly two weeks ago, HBO confirmed that hackers had penetrated its servers and stolen some “proprietary information.” A hacker who identifies himself as “Mr. Smith” then leaked the script outline for episode 4 of Game of Thrones, some episodes of Ballers, as well as some information about other HBO shows, like Room 104. At the time, the hacker claimed to have stolen some 1.5 terabytes of data, including information about HBO employees, and demanded a $6 million ransom. But HBO stood fast. Variety reported that the hacked data included the some emails of a senior HBO executive. The entertainment newspaper also claimed that there is an image file that “appears to show screenshots of HBO’s internal administration tools, listing employee names and email addresses and their functions within the organization.” That’s when comparisons to the catastrophic Sony hack of 2014 really heated up. If these hackers released a boatload of private and confidential information, and if the leaked data included financial information about the company, HBO could be in real trouble.
HBO corporate is now reassuring staff that their email inboxes were not implicated in the attack.
Hackers who posted several of HBO’s new episodes and a “Game of Thrones” script online in late July have published a month’s worth of emails from the inbox of one of the entertainment company’s executives. The Hackers also addressed a video letter to HBO CEO Richard Plepler that demands the company demand payment of money, although the figure was redacted, according to the report. The hackers said HBO marked their 17th victim, and only three have failed to pay. HBO said its forensic review of the incident is ongoing and noted that it believed further leaks were forthcoming.
HBO private emails in the hands of hackers, came Monday in an email message to The Hollywood Reporter that also contained nine files with such labels as “Confidential” and “Script GOT7.” The hackers also delivered a video letter to HBO CEO Richard Plepler that says, “We successfully breached into your huge network. … HBO was one of our difficult targets to deal with but we succeeded (it took about 6 months).”
They say that the frequency of the attacks has overwhelmed the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, which has been unable to properly investigate all of them. The FBI’s surprising advice, according to industry sources: Pay the ransom.
FBI spokesperson in the L.A. office denied that the agency is telling companies to cough up the bitcoins in cases of ransomware. “The FBI does not encourage payment of ransom as it keeps the criminals in business,” says Laura Eimiller. “Of course, the individual victim must weigh their options.”
“The FBI will say it’s easier to pay it than it is to try to fight to get it back,” says Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor of online crime in L.A. and onetime chief security officer for News Corp. “And if one company pays the ransom, the entire hacking community knows about it.”
The full House Appropriations Committee voted to approve FY2018 funding for libraries. By a 28-22 margin, the committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill, which proposes roughly $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—including $183.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) programs, and $27 million for the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program—essentially at 2017 funding levels.
In addition to saving the IMLS, the LHHS bill includes level funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. However, it funds the Department of Education (DOE) at $66 billion—a cut of $2.4 billion from 2017, which includes the elimination of some important library-related programs, including the DOE’s Striving Readers program. ALA officials said they would work to restore it.
Meanwhile, on July 18, the House Appropriations Committee approved by a 30-21 margin the FY2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations, which includes $145 million each for the NEH and the NEA, roughly equal to FY 2017 funding levels.
The key votes come after President Trump’s call in May to eliminate IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital programs and agencies, including the NEH and the NEA. And, it comes after Congress, earlier in May, passed a belated 2017 budget that actually upped the IMLS, NEH, and NEA budgets.
Black Panther has T’Challa returning home to Wakanda after the events of Captain America: Civil War to take his place on the powerful nation’s throne. His return is met with trouble, however, in the form of competing factions challenging his rule and a dangerous enemy from his past. He must prove that he has the wisdom and strength to serve as both the king of Wakanda and its protector, the Black Panther.
Black Panther is scheduled to hit theaters February 16, 2018