Thoughts on current legal news in media, technology and the arts

CBS is Finally Off the Hook for the 8 year-old “Wardrobe Malfunction,” But Next Time will be Different

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 | Posted by Lizbeth Hasse, Esq. | Labels: ,

8 years later and it’s still hot news. This summer session, the Supreme Court, finally, officially, put the CBS Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” matter to rest. It let stand a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that, in 2008,  threw out the FCC’s $550,000 fine against CBS for its 2004 broadcast of a fleeting view of singer Janet Jackson’s breast.

That 2008 Appellate Ruling deemed the FCC’s fine for the network’s unplanned glimpse to be "arbitrary and capricious," an unexplained departure from what the Appellate Court described as a 30-year FCC policy of exempting “fleeting” moments of indecency from the scope of the indecency broadcast ban [18 U.S.C. § 1464, prohibits the broadcasting of “any obscene, indecent, or profane language”].

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