The three-year law allowing the TV networks to police themselves on the issue of reducing vid violence expired Wednesday night, but the status will remain quo, says the law’s sponsor, Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.).

That’s because Attorney General Janet Reno has effectively extended the exemption. She told Simon the Clinton administration has no intention of using antitrust laws to interfere with violence-related talks by webs.

Simon has been pushing the industry to set up an office to grade itself, via annual reports to the public, on violence aired by broadcast and cable webs. Reno’s action means joint monitoring and other self-regulation can proceed even though the TV violence law has expired.

“This leaves the ball in the industry’s court,” said Simon.

Nine bills are already in the Congressional hopper authorizing the government to operate a monitoring office.

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