A message from the U.S. courts to the country’s broadcasters: No need to cower in panic if you briefly, and unintentionally, show a woman’s nipple for less than a second. Reuters:
A U.S. appeals court on Monday overturned a decision to fine CBS Corp television stations $550,000 for airing a brief breast flash by pop singer Janet Jackson during the 2004 Super Bowl broadcast.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said the U.S. Federal Communications Commission “arbitrarily and capriciously departed from its prior policy” that exempted fleeting broadcast material from actionable indecency violations.
Jackson’s right breast was exposed to almost 90 million TV viewers for a fraction of a second during the live 2004 Super Bowl football halftime show in what fellow pop singer Justin Timberlake later called a “wardrobe malfunction.”…
The appeals court said CBS could not be held responsible for the incident.
“Moreover, the FCC cannot impose liability on CBS for the acts of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, independent contractors hired for the limited purposes of the Halftime Show..,” wrote Chief Judge Anthony Scirica for the three-judge panel that heard the case.
Does this also mean stations can’t get fined when pop stars curse on award shows, or when soldiers in Iraq let loose a couple f-bombs while dodging bullets? We hope so.
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