Appeals Court Reverses CBS Fine Over Janet Jackson's Superbowl Exposure
A federal appeals court today overturned the FCC's fine on CBS resulting from Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in which her breast was exposed during her Superbowl halftime appearance.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said the Federal Communications Commission had "arbitrarily and capriciously departed from its prior policy" that exempted fleeting broadcast material from actionable indecency violations.
Like any agency, the FCC may change its policies without judicial second-guessing. But it cannot change a well- established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure," Chief Judge Anthony Scirica wrote for the three-judge panel that heard the case.
CBS says it hopes the FCC will now revert to its past policy of "restrained indecency enforcement." [More...]
"This is an important win for the entire broadcasting industry because it recognizes that there are rare instances, particularly during live programming, when it may not be possible to block unfortunate fleeting material, despite best efforts," CBS said in its statement.
The FCC Chairman said today's decision is a disappointment for families and parents. It's not disappointing for any families and parents that I know. How about you?
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