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February 28, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Playboy Challenges Blocking Provisions: Playboy Enterprises Inc., owner of the Playboy cable TV channels, is challenging a new law that requires cable companies to block sexually explicit programs in such a way that nonsubscribers can't hear them or see even blurry images. Playboy Entertainment Group told a Delaware court that the provisions are unconstitutional, and it asked the court to suspend their enforcement. The provisions apply only to channels that are "primarily dedicated" to sexually explicit programming, such as Playboy or Spice, and not to sexually explicit programs carried on HBO, Showtime or others. The new law requires cable companies to pay for not only lock boxes, but also any other technology that may be used to comply with the blocking provisions.

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