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PLAYBOY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP GRANTED TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER FROM SUIT TO VOID DISCRIMINATORY, UNFAIR TELECOM PROVISION

CHICAGO, March 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Playboy Entertainment Group today won a temporary restraining order in its challenge to a provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that the company contends is unnecessary and a burden on consumers.

Judge Joseph J. Farnan, Jr., ruling in U.S. District Court in Delaware, imposed a restraining order staying enforcement of Section 505 of the Act. Section 505 requires that new redundant blocking equipment be installed in every household in every cable system with adult programming -- whether or not customers request or need it.

"This is a victory for sanity in government," said Playboy Enterprises Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Christie Hefner. "Playboy has always supported the right of individuals to control what comes into their homes, whether through the 'V Chip,' services like NetNanny or blocking of cable programming on request.

"Section 505 adds nothing to that ability. Section 504 of the Act offers parental control; Section 505 limits adults' choices."

The company said that it fully supports Section 504, which mandates that cable operators place full audio and video blocks on any channel, for no charge, at a customer's request. The language of Section 504 is substantially based upon a National Cable and Television Association (NCTA) directive that was adopted unanimously in February 1995. Playboy is an NCTA member.

Under Section 505, cable companies were given 30 days, or until March 9, to install traps or converter boxes in individual visits to millions of cable homes, even though services like Playboy already are fully scrambled and a majority of U.S. households do not have minor-age children. Playboy contends that cable consumers may end up paying the cost for implementation of the Act.

If cable companies are not able to comply with this costly and unnecessary provision, Playboy programming would not be allowed to be available for two-thirds of the day, thus harming viewers, cable operators and Playboy.

Playboy argues that Section 505 is discriminatory because it applies only to companies offering channels with "primarily sexually oriented adult programming." Other premium and pay-per-view channels would not be blocked, even though they show some of the same programs.

"We believe Section 505 is impracticable, discriminatory, unconstitutional and unnecessary," Hefner said. "And we are pleased that the court has understood the merits of our case."

The next stage of the proceedings is evidentiary hearings for a preliminary injunction before a three-judge panel in the Delaware District Court. Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: PLAA, PLA) is incorporated in Delaware.

Playboy TV is currently available in approximately 21 million U.S. basic cable households representing more than 500 cable systems. The company is not yet able to determine how many households receiving its service would be affected by enforcement of Section 505.

Playboy Enterprises, Inc., is an international media and entertainment company that publishes Playboy magazine and produces brand extensions, including newsstand specials, international editions and new media products and services; operates a direct marketing business, including the Critics' Choice Video, Collectors' Choice Music and Playboy catalogs; creates and distributes programming for domestic pay television, worldwide home video and international television; and markets the Playboy trademarks on apparel, accessories and products sold throughout the world.
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/CONTACT: Jim Nagle, 310-246-4000, ext. 4120, or Martha Lindeman, 312-751-8000, ext. 2650, both of Playboy/

(PLA)

CO: Playboy Enterprises Inc.; Playboy Entertainment Group ST: California, Delaware IN: PUB ENT SU:

EQ-BB -- LATH067 -- 1425 03/07/96 21:48 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 7, 1996
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