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United States v. Playboy Entm't Grp. - 529 U.S. 803, 120 S. Ct. 1878 (2000)

Rule:

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires cable television operators who provide channels primarily dedicated to sexually-oriented programming either to fully scramble or otherwise fully block those channels or to limit their transmission to hours when children are unlikely to be viewing, set by administrative regulation as the time between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. 47 U.S.C.S. § 561(a); 47 C.F.R. § 76.227 (1999).

Facts:

Appellee adult entertainment company challenged § 505 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, codified at 47 U.S.C.S. § 561. The trial court found that the statute, which required cable companies to fully scramble sexually-oriented programming or limit their transmissions, is unconstitutional.

Issue:

Does Section 505 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allows signal blocking on household-by-household basis, violative of the Constitution?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The judgment of the lower court was affirmed because appellant failed to show that provision under which viewers could order signal blocking on household-by-household basis was ineffective alternative to provision requiring cable operators to fully scramble or limit transmission time of sexually-oriented programming.

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