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WASHINGTON: Flesh fanciers everywhere toasted last year's Supreme Court ruling that made the Net safe for porn. Now Playboy is hoping the high court's evident distaste for "indecency" laws will help the company strike down similar rules for cable TV. Currently the FCC says so-called indecent shows can be broadcast only from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. "They're told either scramble their dirty pictures or put them on when there are fewer kids in the audience," explains Bruce Taylor, president of the National Law Center for Children and Families. The Playboy Channel has sued the government, arguing that the rule applies "the exact same indecency standard" the Justices said violated the First Amendment when they rejected it for cyberspace.

A key question is whether the Playboy Channel's programming is decent. Playboy lawyer Robert Corn-Revere shipped a crate of videotapes to the FCC for review but never got a reply. "Nothing was done with them. They're sitting in a box somewhere," says the FCC's Morgan Broman. The agency ought to look soon. Last Friday Playboy and the government concluded a three-day trial in federal court in Delaware. They expect a decision by June.