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3:15 PM ET, December 22, 2020


 Top News: 
Alex Gallagher / NME:
The COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress includes the Felony Streaming Bill, which makes illegal streaming for profit a felony, with up to 10 years jail time  —  Targeting illegal for-profit streaming providers, not individual users  —  The US Congress has passed a COVID-19 stimulus bill …
David Shepardson / Reuters:
The COVID-19 relief bill includes a provision to expand forgivable government loans to additional struggling local news outlets
Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
The omnibus funding bill Congress passed contains the controversial CASE Act, introduces a small claims copyright system, and may increase copyright trolling
Jem Aswad / Variety:
Congress' COVID-19 relief deal includes the Save Our Stages Act to give ~$15B in relief to independent music venues and movie theaters shut due to the pandemic
Wall Street Journal:
Draft lawsuit filed last week says Facebook and Google agreed to help each other in case of investigation of their pact to work together in online advertising  —  Draft lawsuit quotes Facebook's Sandberg saying Google pact was a ‘big deal strategically’  —  WASHINGTON— Facebook Inc …
Jessica Bursztynsky / CNBC:
IAC says it plans to spin off its full stake in Vimeo, making it an independent, publicly trade company in Q2 2021  —  - IAC is spinning off its full stake in Vimeo, the company announced Tuesday.  — Following completion of the deal, which is expect to occur in the second quarter of 2021 …
Tim Baysinger / The Wrap:
Group Nine Media has launched a SPAC and plans to go public, according to an SEC filing on Monday  —  Group Nine Media has formed a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), according to an SEC filing on Monday.  —  The company, called Group Nine Acquisition Corp., was formed …
Dominick Mastranglo / The Hill:
Newsmax claims it “has not reported as true certain claims” made by “various guests, attorneys and elected officials” on air about Smartmatic and Dominion  —  Conservative media outlet Newsmax issued a clarification on Monday about recent claims made by guests …
Ben Smith / New York Times:
Voting machine companies including Smartmatic have hired high-powered libel lawyers and, legal experts say, have strong cases if they sue Fox, Newsmax, and OAN
New York Times:
An international phishing scam is tricking writers, editors, and agents into sharing unpublished book manuscripts, but the endgame of the scam is unclear  —  A phishing scam with unclear motive or payoff is targeting authors, agents and editors big and small, baffling the publishing industry.
Shoshana Wodinsky / Gizmodo:
Analysis: of the 60 biggest brands that paused Facebook ads in 2020, only ~10 are still pausing ads and some of those have kept spending using other FB tools  —  This past summer, dozens of major brands pulled their ad dollars from Facebook in a protest of the company's handling of the hate speech and disinformation.
Ben Strauss / Washington Post:
As sports betting booms in the US, gambling operators have turned to sports media companies to attract customers, including big ad deals and hiring reporters  —  Readers of the Chicago Tribune have come to know sportswriter Teddy Greenstein over the past two-plus decades for his coverage …
Sara Fischer / Axios:
Blaze Media, the result of the merger between Glenn Beck's The Blaze and CRTV, has 450K subscribers to BlazeTV, paying an average of $102/year  —  The conservative media company that owns BlazeTV has quietly been building a massive subscriber base, a direct threat to any digital TV effort …
Discussion: @thedomino and @sarafischer
Nathan Bomey / USA Today:
Gannett negotiates a buyout from management by PE firm Fortress for a one-time fee of $30.38M, having already paid it ~$19M in fees in first nine months of 2020  —  Gannett, the owner of USA TODAY and more than 260 other daily publications, has negotiated an early exit from a fee-based arrangement …
Becky Yerak / Wall Street Journal:
Ebony Media, which declared bankruptcy recently, plans to sell its business for ~$14M to an investment group led by former NBA player Ulysses Bridgeman  —  The $14 million offer from Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman was sole serious bid for publisher of Black magazines
Discussion: Chicago Tribune
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 More News: 
Profile of YouTube's top creator of 2020, 22-year-old MrBeast, who has 48M+ subscribers, 4B views a year, ~50 employees, and spends $300K per video on average
Erin Powell / KUSA-TV:
Colorado House GOP leader Patrick Neville doxxed a Denver Post reporter after the latter published an article about Neville's connection to a GOP fund
Discussion: @maggienyt
Journalist Rahmatullah Nekzad was shot in Afghanistan on Monday, the fourth to be killed in the country in the last two months
Discussion: Al Jazeera
 Earlier Picks: 
Wall Street Journal:
Sources: MGM Holdings has begun a formal sale process, looking for a price double its $5.5B valuation
Stephanie Clifford / Elle:
Profile of ex-Bloomberg reporter Christie Smythe, who quit her job and divorced her husband after she fell in love with the man she was covering, Martin Shkreli
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