NEW YORK — The Playboy Entertainment Group has engineered a new strategy geared to overturn a federal law that in effect forces cable systems to pull Playboy and its sister channel Adultvision off the air from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Faced with annual losses of up to $5 million a year because of the law, referred to as Section 505 of the Telecommunications Act, which was passed by Congress in 1996, Playboy’s filing says 505 should be scrapped for the same reasons the U.S. Supreme Court last month struck down government attempts to regulate speech on the Internet. Section 505 took effect on May 18.
“Censorship of the Internet is parallel to the situation we’re facing with 505,” says Anthony Lynn, president of the Playboy Entertainment Group. Playboy has filed its motion seeking summary judgment declaring 505 unconstitutional with the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del. That court denied an earlier motion for an injunction by Playboy. Playboy appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which declined to review it two months ago, causing the rule to go into effect.
“We have no hard data yet on the actual financial damage of 505 to Playboy,” says Lynn, adding that the company’s accountants are estimating the losses at between $4 million and $5 million a year if Playboy is unsuccessful at getting the rule thrown out.