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Court To Review Cable Decency Rule

The U.S.Supreme Court last week agreed to rule on the constitutionality of a law giving cable TV operators the authority to limit carriage of indecent programming on leased access channels.

The case stems from lingo in the 1992 Cable Act, which permitted cablers to bar indecent programming from channels leased to the public. Those cable systems not desiring to bar indecent programming were required to segregate the shows onto a single channel and to block them, unless a customer requested access to the programming in writing.

A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned the law on First Amendment grounds, but the full court later reinstated the legislation in June.

The appellate court said the, law withstands constitutional scrutiny and is designed to protect children from indecency and obscenity.

The U.S. Dept. of Justice asked the Supreme Court to uphold the appellate court decision, saying the law does not forbid any adult subscriber from receiving indecent programming.

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