TV network Fox won a Supreme Court victory on Thursday over unscripted curse words uttered by superstars Cher and Nicole Richie.In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled the FCC’s policy on so-called fleeting expletives was too vague as applied to the Cher and Nicole Richie incidents.
The justices’ ruling also struck down an FCC indecency finding against ABC over the display of a female bottom on “NYPD Blue” for seven seconds.
In its ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the FCC – which polices indecency on broadcasts – did not fairly warn ABC or Fox that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be considered indecent.
“A fundamental principle in our legal system is that laws which regulate persons or entities must give fair notice of conduct that is forbidden or required,” the high court said.
But the Supreme Court refused to weigh in on a major question about the FCC’s indecency policy: whether it violates the First Amendment.
Because the court ruled that Fox and ABC did not get fair notice, the justices said they did not need to decide whether the policy violates the right to free speech.
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